Race Track; Traumatic Brain Injury; Fractures

Style of Case: Wayne Carson v. Madison County Fair Association
Client:    Madison County Fair Association
Trial End Date:   12/17/2007
Court:    Third Judicial Circuit Court, Madison County
Type of Case:    Personal Injury – Race Track
Judge:    The Honorable Ralph Mendelsohn
Reed Armstrong Lawyer who tried the case:  Michael J. Bedesky
Jury Verdict

Plaintiff, Wayne Carson was hit by a wheel from a “hornet” class racecar at the Highland Speedway. Plaintiff was in the “pit” area when the accident occurred. The lug nuts on the right front wheel of the Hornet car were improperly tightened, resulting in stud failure. The wheel flew over the pit area fence and struck Plaintiff on the back of the head. This resulted in nasal fractures, orbital fractures and a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Plaintiff was hospitalized for 33 days total at St. Louis University and St. Mary’s Hospital. After additional rehabilitation by a speech pathologist Plaintiff was left with residual cognitive deficits, short term memory loss, dizziness and depression. Plaintiff was permanently disabled from his occupation as a truck mechanic. Plaintiff incurred approximately $170,000 in medical bills.

Plaintiff retained two liability experts but only called one at trial. His expert argued that the racetrack should have required a right front reinforced wheel and heavier studs for the Hornet class cars. All other class of racecars at the track were required to have the right front reinforced wheel and larger studs. However, no other track in Southern Illinois had such a requirement. Further, the pit area fence was roughly the same height as other tracks in Southern Illinois.

The trial Court allowed admission of the track’s liability insurance application with K&K Insurance. This application indicated that all classes of racecars, including Hornets had right front reinforced wheels. Since this was not the case the Court allowed the exhibit as impeachment. The Court further allowed evidence that the track had raised the fence following the accident. Plaintiffs also presented exhibits showing the top of the pit fence in serious disrepair with numerous missing strands of wire.

Last Demand:    None
Verdict:    Defense Verdict