There is an unfortunate stereotype that says that, whenever there is a court case that involves a seemingly minor accident and a very large award of damages from a jury, the verdict was a result of “slick” plaintiffs’ lawyers, disingenuous plaintiffs’ doctors, and a gullible jury. As is the case in most walks of life, though, assumptions, generalizations, and stereotypes are often wrong.
In reality, there are a lot of situations in which even accidents devoid of high speeds or large vehicles still inflict permanent and life-changing injuries. If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, and that injury leaves you with hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills, your bill collectors are not going to ask how fast the other vehicle was going. Whether the vehicle that hit you was going 5 or 105, if the other person was at fault, you are entitled to receive a sum of compensation that fully reflects the totality of the harm that you’ve suffered. To make certain that you’re getting that level of compensation, be sure to retain a skilled San Mateo injury attorney.
In law school, students learn about someone called an “eggshell victim” or “eggshell plaintiff.” This refers to a situation in which the injured person has suffered more severe or extensive injuries than an “average” person might have suffered under the same circumstances. A Sacramento County case recently reported by the Sacramento Bee is a good example. A married couple in their mid 60s were out for a tandem bicycle ride on a bike path in Folsom when they approached two pedestrians from the rear. The husband signaled to the pedestrians with his bicycle bell. After initially stepping to the right, the female pedestrian moved quickly back to the left. The bicycle hit the female pedestrian and crashed on the trail.
In this case, it was the female bicyclist, rather than the female pedestrian, who bore the brunt of the accident. Although the bicycle was going only 10 mph or less at the time of the crash, the wife’s injuries were massive. While many people might have suffered only limited-duration damage like cuts and bruises or a hairline fracture of a bone, this woman was in a coma for three days and spent months in the hospital ICU. She suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a fracture in her back, and a lacerated liver.
These injuries forever altered the trajectory of the wife’s life. They meant that she had racked up massive medical bills and would face many more treatments. She had endured much pain and suffering and would continue to do so in the future. The injuries also forever altered the future work options and earning ability for this teacher.
A negligent person must “take his victim as he finds him”
The law says that a negligent person must “take his victim as he finds him.” That means that the amount of harm that an “average” person would suffer is irrelevant to the amount of compensation that you should receive. You are entitled to the full amount of compensation that reflects all the damages that you can prove that you suffered and will incur as a result of your accident. Based on the evidence in this Sacramento County case, the jury concluded that the appropriate amount of compensation included $3 million in economic damages and $7.1 million in non-economic damages.
Whether you were hit by a truck or a pedestrian, and whether yours was a 10-mph accident or an 80-mph accident, you need — and deserve — full compensation for the actual harm that you suffered, and will suffer, due to the accident. The skilled San Mateo bicycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos have many years of experience helping our clients get exactly that. To set up a free consultation with one of our helpful attorneys and get the clear advice that you need, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.