A Horrific Santa Clara County Accident Results in a $31M Settlement from a Driver and a City Government

Federal statistics show that more than 780 bicyclists lost their lives in crashes with cars, trucks or SUVs in 2017. In addition to those 780+ deaths, hundreds of thousands were injured. In many of these accidents, the driver of the car/truck/SUV is solely to blame. The driver may have been speeding, inattentive, distracted, intoxicated or many other things.

Sometimes, though, the true cause for an accident is more complex. Perhaps a traffic signal malfunctioned. Perhaps the intersection contained severely obscured sight lines or maybe there were other design flaws that played a role in the crash. When that happens, you, as the injured bicyclist, may be entitled to recover significant compensation, not only from the driver, but also from the governmental entity responsible for the unsafe road area where your crash took place. To make sure that you are getting a full and fair recovery that holds accountable all those responsible, be sure that you have a knowledgeable San Mateo bicycle accident attorney on your side.

A non-fatal, though nevertheless tragic, accident from Santa Clara County is an example of this kind of incident. As San Jose Inside reported, two boys – a 6-year-old on a scooter and a 13-year-old on a bicycle – were hit by an SUV as the boys crossed a street to go watch a 4th of July fireworks show. The 6-year-old was thrown some 30 feet through the air and suffered several fractures, including compound ones. The 13-year-old fared much worse, being dragged by the SUV for 30+ feet and suffering multiple seizures. The accident also inflicted a severe traumatic brain injury on the boy that, according to the family’s attorney, would “require special medical care and educational support for the rest of his life,” according to San Jose Inside.

Visibility obstructions, insufficient lighting and no speed bumps

While the driver was held liable for the crash, she was not 100% to blame. The family’s legal team was able to demonstrate that the state of the intersection also played a role in the horrible crash. For one thing, the intersection was improperly lit and that made the area dangerously dark, they argued. Additionally, a red mesh barrier that had been installed for that morning’s Independence Day parade remained up and, the plaintiffs asserted, the barrier reduced visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

Furthermore, the area where the accident took place had, up until mere days before the accident, included speed bumps to slow traffic approaching the intersection. Those speed bumps were not present on July 4th, but the city re-installed them the next day.

This, according to the family, created a “perfect storm” of dangers. The absence of speed bumps kept the driver from slowing down. The poor lighting and barriers allegedly impaired the driver’s ability to see the children, leading her to hit them without ever even hitting her brakes.

On the basis of this strong evidence, the plaintiffs were able to obtain a settlement with the driver for $1.5 million and with the city government, which was responsible for maintaining the intersection, for more than $30 million.

Sometimes, your injury accident case may be more complex than it might initially seem. Even if your accident occurred as the direct result of a motorist hitting you on your bicycle, the law may look at the totality of the facts and conclude that other conditions played a role in the harm you suffered, meaning that more people and/or entities beyond just the driver could be liable. To make sure that your injury case gets everything for you that it should, reach out to the experienced San Mateo bicycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys can offer you the kind of clear advice and diligent advocacy your case needs in order to get the results you deserve. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.