A St. Clair County jury awarded a motorcyclist $50,000 in a crash he says was caused when he had to swerve to avoid a girl who rode her bicycle into his path.

The jury trial began March 13 in Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf’s courtroom. After deliberating for roughly an hour, the jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff Paul Lee Jr. the next day.

Lee was awarded $5,000 for disability, $17,000 for pain and suffering, $15,000 for medical expenses, and $13,000 for lost earnings.

However, the jury concluded that Lee was 30 percent responsible in the collision, while defendant January Probst was found to be 70 percent responsible.

After reducing the plaintiff’s total damages by his percentage of negligence, Lee was awarded a total of $35,000.

Plaintiff Paul Lee Jr. was represented by Francine Johnston of Neubauer Johnston & Hudson in Fairview Heights.

Defendants January Probst, a minor by and through her mother Amanda Conklin, and Scott Probst were represented by Michael Murphy of Freeark Harvey & Mendillo in Belleville.

According to the March 7 amended complaint, Lee claimed January Probst was riding a bicycle on June 12, 2012, near 901 South 74th Street while under the supervision and control of her father, Scott Probst.

At the same time, Lee was operating a motorcycle when January Probst failed to yield the right of way to the plaintiff, riding her bicycle into the path of the plaintiff. Lee alleged he had to swerve to avoid the girl and crashed his motorcycle.

As a result, the plaintiff alleged he suffered injuries to his ribs, left shoulder, left hip and back.

Lee alleged Scott Probst was responsible to ensure his daughter learned and obeyed the traffic laws.

He also alleged the defendants violated traffic laws of the Illinois Vehicle Code, failed to keep the bicycle and child under proper control, failed to observe the motorcycle Lee was operating, created a situation that did not provide the plaintiff with an opportunity to avoid the accident, failed to alter the direction or reduce the speed of the bicycle and failed to keep a proper lookout.

The defendants answered the amended complaint on March 13. They argued that Lee’s injuries were caused by his own negligence for driving his motorcycle over the speed limit and too fast for conditions, failing to keep a proper lookout and failing to keep proper control of his motorcycle.

Lee denied the defendants’ affirmative defenses, arguing that the accident would not have occurred if January Probst hadn’t failed to yield the right of way and hadn’t been in his lane of traffic.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-494

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Freeark, Harvey and Mendillo, P.C. St. Clair County Circuit Court

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