Matthew Martin, 19, was riding in the back seat of a Mini Cooper driven by his friend, Raymond Consul. As they drove a winding road, Consul chose not to properly negotiate a curve. He lost control of his car, which traveled off the roadway and hit a concrete barrier.
Martin suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and fell into a vegetative state. In addition, he suffered a spinal cord injury that caused paralysis. Martin had worked as an automotive detailer before this unfortunate crash. Through a guardian, Martin sued Consul alleging that he was negligent in driving 60 mph in a 30-mph zone and in failing to maintain control of his vehicle. The plaintiff guardian claimed lost wages for Martin totaling more than $138,200 and past medical expenses of $530,400.
The defendant argued that Martin’s injuries resulted from his choosing not to wear a seatbelt.