Bicycle Accident Case Review: Following Precedent

Bicycle Accident Case Review: Following Precedent

Specific details and identifying information have been changed in order to protect the confidentiality of the settlement agreement.

Riding a bicycle on a gorgeous day should be a leisurely and enjoyable time, but for one of our clients, it turned into a harrowing experience that threatened to put him at fault. Luckily for him, he contacted the skilled team at Silkman Law Firm, where we found the legal precedent to win his case.

The Bicycle Accident

Mr. H was riding his bicycle down Lincoln Drive in Scottsdale, heading east on the north side of the road, riding against traffic on the sidewalk. He had biked this route for years because there was neither a bike lane nor a sidewalk on the south side of that part of Lincoln, so this was the safest choice. As he approached an intersection, the light was green and the walk sign was lit for the crosswalk.

As Mr. H entered the crosswalk, a southbound car stopped at the intersection in anticipation of turning right to continue westbound on Lincoln. Mr. H thought he and the driver had made eye contact, so he entered the crosswalk. But as he did so, the driver accelerated into his right turn, colliding into Mr. H’s left leg.

When the police showed up at the accident shortly thereafter, they did not cite Mr. H or the driver of the car. They did, however, threaten MR. H and document the conversation in the police report that Mr. H was lucky he was not cited for traveling against traffic on the wrong side of the road.

Noting the officer’s remark, the driver’s insurance company stated it was their position that Mr. H was 70% at fault for being on the wrong side of the road. The company only assumed liability for 30% of the accident.

What the Law Says

We began to conduct research on past cases to find legal precedent that would help Mr. H’s case and discovered Maxwell v. Gossett.

That case had facts very similar to Mr. H’s.

In that case, a young boy was riding his bicycle home from a store on the northwest corner of an intersection. As he was attempting to ride east across the intersection, crossing on the north side of the road, he was struck by a car and killed.

One of the main point the defendants argued was that they weren’t liable because the boy had been on the wrong side of the road and riding against traffic. The court disagreed. They said in part that it was not unlawful to ride a bike in a crosswalk and that it didn’t matter what his direction of travel was since he was hit while in the crosswalk.

The defendants in that case lost the argument.

The Settlement

Armed with this information, we drafted a demand letter to the insurance adjuster citing this case, along with other relevant statutes, to point out the error of their judgment. We told the insurance agency that if they didn’t accept 100% liability, we would file a lawsuit on Mr. H’s behalf.

Within 30 days, the insurance company changed their position and accepted 100% liability.

Because their settlement offer was insufficient, we did file a lawsuit, but through negotiations, we settled shortly thereafter.

Mr. H received a settlement of nearly $25,000, which covered his soft-tissue injuries incurred in the collision.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and told that you were at fault, we may be able to help. Oftentimes, there are cases that support your stance.

Since we know the law and the cases, we can fight for you and get you the outcome you deserve.

Contact us or call Silkman Law Firm at 602.535.5899 today for a free case consultation

2016-03-02T17:08:19+00:00 Mar 02nd, 2016|Bicycle Injury, Case Study, Personal Injury Law|