In 2015, Peter Godefroy was seriously injured when his bicycle struck a pothole in Sherman Oaks, California. Godefroy sued the City of Los Angeles, saying that he suffered a “severe traumatic brain injury,” and that poor maintenance and lighting turned the pothole into a dangerous trap.
Last week, the L.A. City Council voted 11- 0 to approve a $6.5 million settlement in the case. Earlier this year, the council settled for $4.5 million with the family of a man who was killed in a cycling accident involving the city’s uneven pavement.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
In 2015, more than 800 people died and about 45,000 were injured in bicycle accidents. As high as these numbers sound, they are probably an underestimation; hospital records show that only a small percentage (as low as 10 percent) of bicycle accidents are even reported. According to the National Safety Council, bicyclist injuries and fatalities cost more than $4 billion annually.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
Cycling accidents are generally treated like auto accidents; if another party was involved in the accident, you should exchange insurance information, document and photograph injuries and property damage, and contact the police if injuries or property damage are severe. Keep records of any associated medical bills, bicycle repairs, and lost wages as well. If the cause of the accident was related to poor roadways or bike lanes, the fault might lie with the city or municipality.
When is the City Liable?
When poor maintenance of city streets, sidewalks, or bike lanes contributes to a cycling accident, the city may be liable for any resulting damages. Obtaining experienced legal counsel can help you determine if the city is liable, and will help to ensure that you file an injury claim or civil lawsuit within the allotted time frame. Cities and municipalities have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care in maintaining roadways, bike lanes, and sidewalks. When they fail to do so, they may be on the hook for your injuries and property damages. Proving that the city knew about – or should have known about – the dangerous condition, however, can be challenging. For this reason, among others, hiring a skilled MA personal injury lawyer is crucial to the outcome of your case. Continue reading