In June of 2015 the plaintiff was riding her bicycle on the street. The defendant was driving a tractor trailer out of a trucking terminal and onto the street. When the truck driver drove into the street, he hit the plaintiff. He ran over the plaintiff and her bicycle. This crash was recorded by a nearby security camera.
The bicyclist was from another country, and was in the area on a summer work visa. At the end of the summer, she was to return to her country and resume her education.
Emergency responders found the bicyclist lying in the road with a severely mangled upper leg. They transported her to the hospital, where she was admitted to the ICU due to life threatening injuries. She remained hospitalized for slightly more than three months. When discharged she was still dependent on crutches to walk. She then returned to her home in Europe. Due to her injuries, she found it necessary to move in with her parents and was unable to return to school for another five months.
Prior to the crash, she led an active and athletic lifestyle. Her injuries left her with severe reduction of range of motion of the hip. The scars from skin grafts used to treat her injuries would remain and would need to be protected from the sun. Nerve injuries sustained in the crash left her knee unstable, and the instability would increase with age. Due to injuries to the pelvis and scar tissue developed she would not be able to deliver a child naturally, but would require a C-section.
During mediation, the defendant stipulated to negligence. Defendant’s attorney tried to argue that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, arguing that she failed to watch for other vehicles. The case did not settle in initial mediation. Through the mediator’s efforts, the case finally settled two months before it was to be heard in court. The negotiated settlement was $11.5 Million.
Every year many crashes involving bicycles and other vehicles occur in Virginia. There are also a number of bicyclist fatalities each year. During 2016, there were 634 bicycle-involved crashes. These crashes resulted in 693 injuries and 10 fatalities.
Although it is incumbent upon bicyclists to remain alert and aware of other vehicles near them, it is also incumbent upon drivers of trucks and other vehicles to look for pedestrians or bicyclists before entering a street. Bicycle involved crashes typically result in serious injuries to the bicyclist. People riding bicycles on the street have almost no protection from injury if they are struck by a car or truck.