The 51-year old warehouse employee was riding his bicycle home from work on a sunlit summer afternoon when he was run over by a pickup truck that ran a red traffic light. The 51 year-old worker was riding his trusty old Raleigh three-speed in a cross-walk on a green light, as he did five days a week rain or shine. The pickup truck hit the bicyclist’s left knee and left shoulder, crushing bone and tearing ligaments on impact. The 51-year-old man was taken by ambulance to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
Before the bicyclist was loaded into an ambulance, a police officer obtained the man’s wallet and his driver’s license for identification. The police never talked to the bicyclist later and never found out the bicyclist’s version of the incident. The pickup truck driver claimed to the police officer that the bicyclist ran into the side of the pickup truck, not that the pickup truck hit the bicyclist, and the police officer concluded the incident was the bicyclist’s fault.
At the hospital, x-rays clearly showed that the bicyclist had a knee and a shoulder that required surgery. Unfortunately, the orthopedic surgeon had just finished a long day in the operating room of the hospital and he asked the bicyclist to go home and come back after the weekend when the surgeon would be fresher. The bicyclist went home for the longest, most painful, and loneliest weekend of his life.
The orthopedic surgeon performed a repair of the bicyclist’s tibial plateau in his knee and clean-up of torn meniscus ligaments. The bicyclist’s torn rotator cuff and shoulder surgery would have to wait. The shoulder injuries precluded his use of crutches. Therefore, the bicyclist had to go to a convalescent hospital due to his upper extremity and knee joint injuries.
Meanwhile, the pickup truck driver reported to his employer, who insured the pickup truck, that the incident was the bicyclist’s fault. The employer concluded they owed nothing to the bicyclist. However, they did not bother to inform the bicyclist of their wrongful decision. The medical bills came and the pickup truck driver’s company ignored the bicyclist. The crowning blow was a traffic citation from the local court for riding on the wrong side of the roadway. The bicyclist needed legal help and made an appointment to see Mike Jansen at Timmons, Owen, Jansen & Tichy, Inc.
The bicyclist found out, once he visited the lawyer, that the law requires a bicyclist to ride on the right-hand side of the roadway, even if it is more dangerous there. However, the law also allows a bicyclist to ride in either direction in a cross-walk. It was not riding on the wrong side of the roadway that got the bicyclist hurt in this case, it was the pickup truck driver who ran a red light that caused the bicyclist’s serious injuries. The pickup truck driver told the police he did not see the bicyclist before impact, so the bicyclist wondered how the police knew that he had ridden on the wrong side of the roadway. It was clear the bicyclist was hit in the cross-walk yet the police officer attributed fault for the accident on the bicyclist. Clearly, the police officer was not a friend of bicyclists. Later in deposition once litigation ensued, the police officer testified that it is a violation of the California Vehicle Code for minors to ride their bicycles on a sidewalk, which is not true. The police officer did not have a correct understanding of the law as it pertains to bicycles.
The bicyclists also found out that the emergency room doctor noted in the medical chart that the bicyclist did not have a helmet on at the time of the incident. A helmet is not required for adults to wear while riding a bicycle and the bicyclist did not suffer any head injuries. Clearly, the emergency room doctor was no friend of bicyclists, also. At trial, the defense lawyer tried to argue the bicyclist was reckless to the jury because he did not have a helmet on, but a motion in limine filed by our firm prevented this misrepresentation.
As a result of the lies of the pickup truck driver, the incompetence of the police officer, and bias of the emergency room doctor, the liable company saw an opportunity to litigate this case. After a successful jury trial and an appeal, the bicyclist finally received a hard-earned check for his injuries. Without legal representation, the bicyclist would have been left on the side of the roadway by a deceitful driver, an ignorant police officer, and vengeful medical provider. That is why I tell people, “I fight injustice and the forces of evil.”