On Thursday, September 20, a Los Angeles jury ordered that both the city and Caltrans pay $9.1 million to a Topanga Canyon man for having suffered a brain injury along the Pacific Coast Highway in July of 2014. At the time, the man had apparently been trying to avoid running into some debris along the roadway when he lost control of his bike.
During the trial in the matter, attorneys for the defendant had argued that signs in the area warned bicyclists not to ride in the road, but instead along its shoulder, an area in between the cliff and travel lanes. The victim apparently did this up until he came upon a large amount of rocks and sand obstructing his path.
He apparently swerved into the roadway as he came upon the rubble. It’s then that he was struck by a passing truck’s mirror. According to his Los Angeles County Superior Court filing, that impact caused him to suffer a serious brain injury.
At the time of the crash, the man have been commuting to the freelance camera company that he owned, something he did almost every day. Since being injured, he has apparently experience a sensitivity to light, an inability to smell and short term memory problems. All of this has made it impossible for him to return to work.
During the course of the trail, the victim’s attorney noted how the city boasts about being ideal for bike riding. He noted that they knew that debris and sand was sliding down the Tramonto slide onto the roadway though and did nothing about it.
A representative from Caltrans noted that they contracted with the city to remove debris from the area at least once a month. Two city workers testified that they simply drove by the property, but never really performed any cleaning duties.
Ultimately the jury decided that Caltrans was at least 40 percent liable for the man’s injuries and that the city of Los Angeles was 60 percent liable. The defendants all contend that they’ll be looking to appeal the matter.
While there are many different bicycle safety and accident prevention steps riders can take, they often can’t prepare for poorly maintained roads. In severe injury cases, it makes a difference if you’re being represented by a Los Angeles bicycle accidents attorney who has successfully recovered over $125 million in damages.