A Southern California Bicyclist Receives a $20M Settlement After a Crash Leaves Him with Permanent Paralysis

When you are injured in a bicycle accident that takes place on public property, there may be multiple ways to utilize the legal system. For example, if your accident occurred in a construction area on a public road, you may have a viable case against the government responsible for the road, the construction company doing the work and any other entities directly involved in the job. For reliable advice about whom you should pursue for compensation, be sure to rely on an experienced San Mateo injury attorney who has the experience and skill to get you the positive result you deserve.

S.D. was a man injured in a single-vehicle bicycle accident. According to an NBC 7 report, he was bicycling to work one December morning in 2017, traveling down the southbound bicycle lane of a street in San Diego. That same morning, construction crews were digging several large trenches as part of excavation work they were performing. The bicyclist hit a two-foot-wide ditch in the bicycle lane and the impact threw him from his cycle. When he landed, his head struck a big pile of dirt and rock, which caused the man to suffer injuries.

Those injuries were life-changing. The bicyclist suffered a cervical spine injury that left him with permanent quadriplegia. In other words, this previously active person would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

A government entity may be liable for ‘a dangerous condition… on public property’

S.D. pursued the city government responsible for the road. The city allegedly was to blame because it allowed “a dangerous condition to exist on public property and was liable under the peculiar risk doctrine.” The city, according to the cyclist, also was legally responsible for the acts of its contractor and its construction manager under a concept of law called the “non-delegable duty doctrine.” That doctrine means that there are some obligations that a defendant cannot hand off to others and, even if they do, they remain responsible and liable if harm occurs.

In addition to the city, the cyclist also pursued the construction firm that served as the contractor on the project and the engineering firm that operated as the construction manager. Both of these entities allegedly were liable because of their negligent acts and negligent inaction in the completion of the road construction work.

Paralysis cases may create additional expenses that can be recouped in court

The amount of damages available in an injury action where the victim suffered permanent paralysis can be very large. That makes sense when you consider that the most basic goal of civil litigation is to take an injured plaintiff and make him “whole,” which means putting him in the same position he was before the accident. Obviously, a family whose loved one has died in an accident, as well as an injury victim rendered permanently paralyzed by an accident, will never again be in the same position as before the accident. The civil legal system can at least, however, provide for a large enough recovery that the victim will not have to suffer a lifetime of financial hardship on top of the life-altering injury.

In an injury with paralysis, the victim can recover for many things. Obviously, the victim can receive compensation for medical bills, lost income and for pain and suffering, just like any other accident victim. A victim who’s been left permanently paralyzed often has more expenses related to the injury, though. This may include the cost of modifications to the victim’s home to make it wheelchair-accessible, the price of modification to (or replacement of) the victim’s vehicle, the cost of a motorized wheelchair, the expenses of personal care and health aide and the expenses of continuing rehab and therapy.

S.D. was able to reach an acceptable settlement to his case that allowed him to recover compensation without having to go all the way to trial. The bicyclist received $20 million, which included $14.25 million from the city, $4.25 million from the contractor and $1.5 from the construction manager.

For your bicycle accident case, whether you were injured due to a road defect, a car or truck driver’s negligence or some other reason, call upon the hardworking and aggressive San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been providing successful representation for many years for our many vehicle crash clients, including bicycle accident victims. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.