A Los Angeles jury awarded a teenage auto accident victim, Kyle Tilton, $15 million after it determined that a Southern California Gas Co. employee caused a 2005 crash after he recklessly ran a red light. Brian Panish and Spencer Lucas of Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP represented Tilton, who sustained a debilitating brain injury during the accident. Sempra Energy/OGC, owner of Southern California Gas Co., admitted liability prior to the verdict being delivered, leaving the jury the sole task of determining how much damages the company would be required to pay Tilton.
The accident took place as Tilton’s mother was making a left-hand turn in Twentynine Palms in the family’s Chrysler sedan. The Southern California Gas Co. truck driver then failed to stop for a red light, stating that he hadn’t even noticed that the light had changed colors. The truck proceeded to strike the passenger side of the sedan, thus injuring Tilton severely. The teenager suffered permanent frontal-lobe brain damage as a result of the crash, becoming comatose for 24 hours and having to spend nine days in the hospital. Today, Tilton is cognitively disabled, suffering from impaired judgment and the inability to regulate his mood, and suffers from partial facial paralysis. Unable to enjoy many of the physical activities that he previously participated in prior to the accident, Tilton was awarded $10 million in past and future pain and suffering, more than $3.5 million for future medical expenses, and $1 million for future wages lost.
Tilton vs. Sempra Case Articles:
Thursday’s verdict followed an admission of liability from the utility provider, which asked the jury to return with a payout well below eight figures.