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Adrian Daily Telegram: Lenawee County Car Accident Victims Awarded More than $2 Million

September 25, 2009 by Steven M. Gursten

On Sept. 16, the Adrian Daily Telegram wrote an article about my trial in Lenawee County Circuit Court for a car accident case. The case resulted in a $2,091,500 jury verdict for our clients Douglas and Tammy Mayher.

In October 2005, Douglas Mayher, his pregnant wife Tammy and her 9-year-old son were stopped at a stop sign on Palmer Highway at M-50, when a negligent teenage driver with a car full of girlfriends passed a truck on the right gravel shoulder, lost control and crashed into the family’s Yukon. The Yukon flipped over and Douglas Mayher had to be removed by the Jaws of Life. He was taken to University of Michigan hospital by helicopter to treat his traumatic brain injury and shoulder injuries.

Even after 3.5 years of brain injury rehabilitation, Douglas Mayher lives with permanent TBI. The defendant spent 30 days in jail following the car crash for felony reckless driving.

The highest settlement offer from the defense and Farm Bureau insurance company was $100,000.

The newspaper story touched on defense tactics throughout the case, such as secretly recorded videos of Mayher at home and work and arguments that medical records show nothing wrong with him.

Comments Heat up on Insurance Company’s Bad Acts in Car Accident Trial

Talk of a $2 million dollar plus verdict, a catastrophic accident and unwieldy defense tactics in the story brought out a barrage of passionate reader comments on the story.

Most readers sided with Mr. Mayher’s plight. For example, when “CET” called the settlement “completely ridiculous,” “Pat9” said:

“Wow. That is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. Minor accident? An airborne car flew into him while he was driving. That’s not minor. He’s not working at the grocery store. He’s an HVAC guy. He’s on roofs, ladders and doing other things you’ve probably never done. His job isn’t only physical, he has to use his head. Maybe in the trailer park you live in is $2m considered a jackpot. For a guy that has a skill and can’t work the rest of his life, that’s only going to pay the bills, and that’s about it.”

And “icjuner” added:
“They don’t life flight people in a minor accident. All the money in the world won’t replace what this young man has lost. I’m sure he’d rather have his life before the crash back instead of the money. The girl and her family should be counting their blessings that Mr. Mayher & his family were in a large vehicle or they might be living with the death of a complete family on their conscience..”

These comments were followed by “Pups”:
“No money in the world will replace a brain injury! I don’t think 2 million was enough to be honest..”

And “Bartrick”:
“It is obvious that some people have never had a serious medical problem. Besides the fact that the man is not going to be able to work he has mounting medical bills that I am sure are in the 6 digit figures. What if he did not have insurance? It is a tough lesson to learn for the girl involved but she is lucky that the victim is not dead.”

“Ranae” brought up the criminal aspect of the case:
“I’m glad to see the victim finally won. Did the girl ever go to juvy? Probably not. All you folks that disagree with the outcome, do you have kids? What if the table was turned around and it was your kid? I know we have certain rules for cetain people. WAKE UP SOCIETY YOU MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS. Iam glad to read about having intelligent jurors. I am proud of all of you.”

As did “Viper”:
“CET, ‘ tried to speed pass a vehicle on the right’!!!!!!! End of story, I can’t believe it took this long for a judgement. 17 years old pulling stupid stunts like that, revoke that license please!!!!!!!!! Our families are out there everyday at risk.”

Finally our car accident lawyers will mention an extensive comment from “Kandeekane”:
“That stupid, ignorant girl should have had her butt thrown in jail and her license suspened until she is 21 years old and has to spend 1000 hours of road training and testing. Her parents should be punished too for not teaching her to be a responsible driver. Did she get any punishment at all? And I am not talking about the monetary award cuz everyone knows that will be paid by the insurance company. Maybe if she had to work off that money for the rest of her life then maybe she might learn a lesson. 30 years old is pretty young. 2 million dollars is not a lot when you figure he needs to live on that for the next 35-40 years. It is appx. $57,143 a year for the next 35 years. I’m sure a HVAC person could make way more than that in a year. Plus you figure 10-20 years from now when the cost of living has doubled he will still be living on wages that are outdated. What if you had to live on wages from 20 years ago? 20 years age minimum wage was $3.35 an hour. Try paying your house payment, House insurance, car payment, car insurance, heat, electricity, gas, food, clothes and if he has any kids or wants to have kids, throw them into the equation and the cost of living goes up even more, try paying all that stuff on $3.35 an hour now-a-days. It can’t be done. Bottom line the idiot girl was passing someone on the right which is totally illegal and her car went airborn. What if this guy would have been killed?”

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