$96,000: Bicyclist Claimed Motorist’s Negligent Turn Caused Crash

CASE DESCRIPTION: Plaintiff was riding her bicycle on the road when she collided with a vehicle making a right turn. Plaintiff alleged operator of vehicle failed to yield the right of way. Defendant disputed shared negligence.

RESULT: $96,000 total settlement

On Jan. 26, 2011, plaintiff, a high school lacrosse coach and teacher, was riding her bicycle when she collided with a right-turning vehicle. As a result, plaintiff sustained road rash to her arms and legs and claimed additional injuries to her head, face, and left knee. Plaintiff sued vehicle driver alleging the defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. She claimed defendant failed to yield the right of way to a bicyclist travelling in a marked bicycle lane. She claimed that as a result, she crashed into the passenger-side rear quarter panel of defendant’s vehicle.

Defense counsel argued that plaintiff was comparatively negligent. Counsel contended that plaintiff was bicycling with a friend, who was roughly 10 feet in front of her, and was able to make an emergency stop to avoid colliding with defendant’s vehicle. However, defense counsel argued that even though Plaintiff had sufficient time to brake and stop her bicycle to avoid the impact, she was inattentive and failed to do so.

After the crash, plaintiff was airlifted to an emergency room where she was further diagnosed with a concussion, a bruised hip, and a torn meniscus on her left knee. She ultimately underwent arthroscopic surgery in October 2012 and physical therapy for her left knee and right hip. She sought recovery for past and future medical costs, as well as recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering.

Defense did not dispute plaintiff’s facial fracture or concussion, but argued that her alleged knee and hip injuries were unrelated to the subject accident.

TYPE OF CASE: Auto v. Bicycle

INJURIES: Plaintiff sustained road rash injuries to her arms and legs and a right orbital fracture. She also suffered a concussion, bruised hip and a torn meniscus on her left knee.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: In 1/11, Santa Cruz County

PLAINTIFF’S AGE: 27 at the time of incident

OCCUPATION: High school lacrosse coach and teacher

Darren O. Aitken

Michael J. Dodson

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.