A jury recently awarded $12.5 million in damages to the family of a dentist killed in an accident while riding his bicycle last year. Glenn Garvin, 49, an avid cyclist, was struck by a vehicle and killed, while riding on a California road. The Thousand Oaks, CA resident was a member of the city’s traffic advisory board and a bicycle safety volunteer.
His family filed a wrongful death suit against the driver, Norma Seigel, 82, of Thousand Oaks. The president of the Ventura County Bar Association said he believes the award of damages is one of the highest ever involving a personal injury or wrongful death suit in Ventura County.
The Garvin family’s lawyer, Mark Hiepler, praised the jury’s decision. “I am pleased a jury of conservative Ventura County people saw the value of the life of a father and husband and the value he brought to the community,” said Hiepler.
In a prepared statement, wife Pamela Garvin, 50, said, “My husband, Glenn, was a volunteer traffic safety commissioner for the city of Thousand Oaks who taught and lived bicycle safety. His death was preventable and teaches us that we must individually take responsibility for those we love, whether elderly or young, who should not be driving.”
In the Garvin case, Seigel admitted she was responsible for the death, so the accident’s cause wasn’t an issue in the case. Instead, the trial focused on monetary damages.
Seigel’s ophthalmologist told her eight days before the accident that she had cataracts in both eyes, according to Hiepler. The day before the accident and during another visit to her ophthalmologist, she was told she had “dense cataracts” in both eyes. Seigel’s lawyer, Robert Hanger, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
Attorney Light said he believes the jury’s award was large partly because Garvin had a large annual income – future earnings the family will no longer receive. Garvin was an endodontist who earned about $746,633 in 2006, according to the lawsuit.
Hiepler said Seigel has insurance and assets, and another court hearing will determine whether it will be enough to satisfy the judgment.