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Jury Awards $11 Million to Boy for Brain Injury at Texas Motor Speedway

On Monday, a Tarrant County jury awarded more than $11 to the family of a boy who suffered a serious injury after being hit by a mini racecar (driven by another child) in the parking lot at the Texas Motor Speedway. The jury found that the speedway was 80 percent responsible for the accident while the miniature car driver’s parents were each 10 percent responsible.

The 2006 accident left Ryan Davies with traumatic brain injuries that limit his mental capacity and mobility. Davies, 11, was tossing a football with friends in the parking lot of the Texas Motor Speedway when another boy lost control of the Bandolero miniature race car that he was driving.

The 500-pound Bandolero car is like a go-cart, only faster. It reaches speeds up to 70 miles per hour. The young driver of the Bandolero lost control of the vehicle as he drove it through the parking lot of the Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway, a 1/5-mile paved track for the mini race cars. Children as young as 8 can drive the cars. (Talk about a lawsuit waiting to happen.)

The driver almost crashed into a trailer and several cars before he hit Davies. Davies’ parents watched the accident in horror.

Chris Collins, an attorney who represented the Davies family, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “It was a nightmare. Ryan was a normal, healthy kid with a bright future. A little while later, he leaves the speedway in a CareFlite helicopter with a traumatic brain injury and basically a quadraplegic.”

Davies will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Now 14, he spent 10 months at a children’s medical center recovering from a traumatic brain injury that has limited his mobility. Due to the injury, his brain cannot send proper signals to his muscles. The traumatic brain injury (TBI) also left Davies with the mental capacity of a fourth-grader.

A neurologist testified that, while Davies has improved, he will never be able to live independently and will need help with basic daily tasks for the rest of his life. An economist from Baylor University testified that the family is likely to incur an additional $9.2 million in medical costs. Before the trial, the family had already incurred nearly $2 million in medical expenses.

Attorneys for the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) argued that the Davies family should be barred from seeking damages because the parents signed releases forms that spelled out the risks. TMS also filed suit against the young driver and his family, arguing that the parents knew their son a “mental and or emotional condition” that rendered him “incompetent” to drive the mini race car.

The father of the driver testified that his son was diagnosed with “pervasive developmental disorder,” similar to a mild form of autism. A neurophysiologist and counselor testified that the boy had no problems that would restrict his activities or make him incompetent to drive the car.

Please remember that speed kills. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but I don’t think that children as young as 8-years-old should be put behind the wheel of vehicles capable of traveling at 70 miles per hour. What do you think about these miniature race cars? Would you allow your child to drive one?

If you find yourself in need of a Georgia brain injury attorney, call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.