Keith Trantolo
Keith Trantolo ()

Christopher Bove v. Robert Francis Jr.: A man on a motorcycle who suffered multiple injuries after crashing into a car that pulled in front of him in Middletown has recovered $465,000 in a settlement.

On Sept. 3, 2012, at 2:48 p.m., Christopher Bove, then 23, was riding his motorcycle north on Newfield Street in Middletown, according to his lawyer, Keith Trantolo, of Trantolo & Trantolo in Hartford.

Without warning, a car driven by Robert Francis Jr., 34, exited a Napa Auto Parts store and tried to make a left turn in front of Bove. But Francis, who was driving a car owned by his father, barely made it halfway across Bove’s lane when Bove’s motorcycle crashed into the vehicle.

Trantolo said Bove, who was wearing a helmet, hit the brakes and tried to lay his motorcycle down low to avoid the collision. But he clipped the Francis vehicle and flew through the air. Bove ended up in the middle of the road. His motorcycle ended up skidding across two lanes of traffic before coming to rest. The bike was totaled, Trantolo said.

“Police did determine [Bove] wasn’t speeding based on the skid marks,” said Trantolo.

Francis immediately took responsibility for the accident, Trantolo said. Francis told officers he didn’t see Bove until he was halfway into his lane, and by then it was too late. “[Bove] actually said he saw [Francis] and did not feel he was going to pull out,” said Trantolo. The attorney said that his client was within 20 to 30 feet of Francis when Francis pulled out of the auto parts store.

Trantolo said a witness who was in his front yard on the other side of the street heard tires skidding, looked up and witnessed the crash. Trantolo said the witness corroborated the story that both Bove and Francis told police.

Trantolo said his client was knocked unconscious and transported by ambulance to Hartford Hospital. There, doctors discovered numerous injuries, some of them significant.

Bove suffered a spleen laceration that required emergency surgery. He also had five fractured ribs on the left side and a punctured left lung. Also, Bove had fractures to both sides of his pelvis; those, too, required surgery during his eight-day hospital stay. Further, Bove suffered a hernia, a bruised kidney, a bone fracture in the middle of his back, a broken clavicle and numerous soft-tissue injuries to the neck and low and midback.

Trantolo said Bove also had a “mutilation”-type injury to his left hand that doctors cannot do much about now. “He has difficulty gripping as a result of that,” said Trantolo.

Eight days after the accident, and following the spleen and pelvis surgeries, Bove was taken to Gaylord Rehabilitation Hospital in Wallingford, where he spent an additional 10 days. “He was laid up for quite some time,” said Trantolo, and attended physical therapy and occupational therapy sessions for several months.

Bove’s medical bills totaled $210,884. Bove, who then lived in Berlin, also had about $4,000 in lost wages. At that time he was working as a temp.

After the accident, Trantolo said his client finished school and got a great job in Chicago and moved out to the Midwest.

Now 24, Bove healed better than an older person would have who suffered so many injuries, the attorney said. Nevertheless, Bove still suffers some lingering effects. For example, due to the hernia and a subsequent surgery, he has a bulge in his abdomen that doctors say is permanent. Also, the pelvic injuries cause discomfort following prolonged sitting or standing.

Various doctors were prepared to provide permanent partial disability ratings for the multitude of injuries, but that ended up unnecessary when the case settled. Trantolo noted that his client’s lung, ribs, spleen and kidney all healed fine.

Francis was defended by Theodore Pappas, of the Law Offices of Charles Walker in Hartford. Pappas, who was representing Francis’ auto insurance carrier Travelers, declined comment for this article.

Trantolo said the case settled before he even had to depose the defendant. He opined that the defense wanted to avoid litigation because of “the severity of the injuries and obviousness of the liability.” He also said a jury verdict could potentially have far exceeded the $465,000 settlement.

Trantolo said his client was anxious to settle and get on with his new life. “He was very happy with the settlement,” said Trantolo.

Trantolo said there was also one other thing his client wouldn’t be doing anymore as a result of the accident. “In his mind, he’s never going to set foot on a motorcycle again.”•