A California man recently settled with the city of San Diego after he sustained significant injuries while riding his bicycle in the city. Clifford Brown was thrown nearly 30 feet from his bike after his tire hit a crack in the sidewalk. The crack was caused by a tree root. Brown landed on his head and sustain severe spinal cord, head, and face injuries, and may have also suffered a stroke in the aftermath. After spending one month in the hospital and two more in rehab, Brown still requires in-home care to tend to his injuries.
Brown sought to recover compensation in a lawsuit against San Diego on the basis of infrastructure negligence. San Diego has a duty to provide safe thoroughfares, and its failure to tend to the large crack in the sidewalk led to Brown’s life-changing accident. The settlement is the largest recovered by a bicyclist from a city in the nation.
Negligence Law in California
Bicyclists who are injured as a result of another’s action – or inaction – may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Bicycle accidents can occur for a number of reasons, but negligence is an often-cited basis for liability. In California, individuals, companies, and governmental entities may be responsible for injuries caused by the “want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property.” More simply – if someone is injured as a result of your behavior, and it is determined that you owed them a duty, you may be liable for damages they incur as a result.
- the defendant had a duty,
- that duty was breached,
- the breach caused the plaintiff’s injury which was reasonably foreseeable, and
- the plaintiff suffered actual harm.
In Mr. Brown’s case, to recover damages he would have had to prove that San Diego had and breached a duty to provide safe thoroughfares. Their failure to repair the sidewalk must then have been the cause of his accident. The accident then resulted in injuries that caused him actual damage.
Duty of Care
The owner of property may be liable for injuries that occur on such property. Here, the city of San Diego had a duty to exercise reasonable care of the thoroughfares and sidewalks in the city. When the tree root caused the sidewalk to buckle and crack, San Diego should have dispatched a crew to fix it immediately after it was notified. However, it appears as though the city allowed the sidewalk to remain in disrepair without tending to it.
A breach of a duty of care could result in liability for resulting injuries. Here, Brown was injured as a result of the city’s lack of care and maintenance. While the case was settled before trial, it is likely that a court would have found that Brown’s injuries were foreseeable.
Actual Damage in Bicycle Injury Lawsuits
To recover on the theory of negligence, an injured bicyclist must have suffered actual damages. Damages that may be recovered in a bicycle injury lawsuit for negligence may include:
- Hospital bills;
- Medical expenses;
- Physical therapy;
- In-home health services;
- Lost wages;
- Future loss of wages; and
- Pain and suffering.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a bicycle accident that was the result of another’s negligence, contact an experienced San Diego bicycle accident attorney today. A personal injury attorney can explain your legal rights and help to devise a legal strategy to recover compensation for your damages from the responsible party.
If your injury was the result of the negligent actions of a government body your window for filing a claim may be quickly closing. Act soon to recover the compensation to which are you entitled.