War Veteran Awarded $26 Million In Hit-And-Run Crash

David Brink, an Iraqi war veteran, was awarded approximately $26 million by a Florida jury this week. The verdict stems from a 2008 hit-and-run crash that left the 31-year-old with permanent brain damage.

The accident occurred on April 5, 2008 while Brink was driving his Kawasaki motorcycle on a street in Kissimmee, Florida. A vehicle reportedly hit Brink, causing him to strike his head against the pavement. The military veteran, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, sustained severe brain injuries.

According to his lawyer, Alexander Clem, Brink has no memory of the accident. The irreparable damage to his brain has reportedly reduced the 31-year-old to child-like behavior, requiring him to be supervised and cared for by his parents.

“He’s got a huge hole in his right frontal and temporal lobes,” explained Clem. “It’s a tragic situation,” he added.

The injury reportedly diminished Brink’s mental capacity, leaving him unable to clearly process, organize, and sequence thoughts and activities.

At the time of the accident, the veteran was studying to become a mechanic — a career path that his lawyer claims is no longer feasible due to his injuries.

In 2010, Dustin Brink filed a lawsuit against Juan Ruiz Pereles, the man who crashed into him. Also named in the suit was Juan de Los Santos, Pereles’ father and the registered owner of the vehicle.

Brink and his legal representation alleged that Pereles was negligent in his operation of the vehicle and should be held responsible for the veteran’s injuries.

On Wednesday, an Osceola County jury agreed that Pereles was partially responsible and awarded the Iraqi war veteran nearly $26 million. However, because the jury also found Brink to be equally at fault in the accident, the amount of the judgement will technically be reduced by 50 percent.

According to Michael LeRoy, legal representation for Juan Pereles, the defense plans to request a post-verdict reduction of the amount:

“Although we certainly respect the jury’s verdict, we feel that the award of $22 million for past and future medical expenses, which comprises the majority of the verdict, is not supported by the evidence. As such, we will promptly be seeking a post-verdict reduction from the court, which is not uncommon in these matters.”

Do you think the jury made the right decision in awarding the war veteran nearly $26 million for his injuries?

[Top image via Shutterstock]