A jury recently awarded $8.6 million to a motorcyclist who hit a wild hog on a California highway in 2003.
According to the Monterey County Herald, 45-year-old Adam Rogers struck the hog while riding on Hwy. 1 near Carmel, Calif. around midnight on Sept. 23, 2003. He was in a coma for several months afterwards and is now permanently disabled and confined to a wheelchair.
Roger sued the California Department of Transportation, claiming the state was responsible for the accident. His attorney, Larry Biegel, argued that the state knew a growing number of pigs were crossing the highway to feed on vegetation in an environmental restoration project along the roadway, but failed to address the issue.
State attorneys argued that the pigs didn’t present a greater danger along that stretch of road than other wild animals on other highways.
They further noted that Rogers was under the influence of alcohol at the time, citing a test that showed a blood-alcohol level of more than .10 after the crash.
Although the jury agreed Rogers was negligent for driving under the influence of alcohol, they found that it was not a mitigating factor in the accident.
Rogers’ attorney said the testimony of experts demonstrated the difficulty for anyone, impaired or not, to see wild pigs crossing the highway at night.
Rogers, a former karate instructor and kick-box champion, continues to undergo intensive physical therapy for his injuries. He was awarded $6.8 million for future medical bills plus nearly $1.8 million for loss of earnings, medical expenses already incurred and general damages. His wife, Kristen Finn, was awarded about $500,000 for "loss of consortium".
Following the accident, the State of California put up a cautionary pig-crossing sign and now uses hunters to control the pig population.