24 Year Old Struck by Vehicle While Bicycling at Night ($120,000)
On a clear crisp evening in March, this 24 year old recent college graduate was riding his bicycle to a friend’s home. He was traveling on the roadway with traffic, in the portion of the lane designated for bicyclists. As he was proceeding through an intersection on a green light with the right-of-way, an oncoming vehicle first paused for a passing motorist then suddenly executed a left turn directly in front of the bicyclist, causing an unavoidable collision despite the bicyclist attempting to evade impact by pulling to the right. There were multiple witnesses at the scene, one of whom was a security officer for a neighboring university and who filed an incident report with the school.
In a violent series of events, the bicyclist was struck on his left side, flipped up onto the hood, and then rolled back to the ground, landing on his left side on the pavement. His injuries were primarily to the left knee, ultimately requiring surgery of Open Reduction Internal Fixation of the complex depressed left tibial fracture using a plate and 6 long screws, arthroscopy of the left knee for partial lateral meniscectomy, and bone graft to the subarticular area of the fracture. Post surgery he was non-weight bearing for three full months, and did not progress to full weight bearing until approximately five months post-injury. He remained off-work this entire time as well. He moved in with his parents for the first few weeks of his post-surgical recovery, and then relied upon a roommate to tend to his needs in the months following. Recovery was slow and incomplete, and post-surgical scarring was significant. His medical expenses totaled $55,044. His lost wages were approximately $6,000. Damages were undisputed.
Liability, however, was disputed by the other party’s insurer, who attempted to dodge responsibility by asserting 50/50 fault for the collision. The bicyclist retained Denise Fullerton to assist him in challenging that position.
First, Denise was able to obtain the full $20,000 in medical No-Fault benefits from the other party’s insurer, after it was determined that the bicyclist did not own a vehicle, was not an insured on any vehicle, and did not live with anyone who insured a vehicle. In the meantime, medical bills were processed through the bicyclist’s health insurance, and the no-fault medical benefits were then used to pay the patient’s responsibilities toward bills, reimburse the health insurer, and reimburse the bicyclist for his out of pocket home care expenses during his recovery. This resulted in fully extinguishing all $55,044 in medical bills plus out of pocket expenses, using only the $20,000 in no-fault coverage available.
Denise then engaged an investigator who interviewed all witnesses and obtained detailed accounts of the incident. On the one-year anniversary of the incident, photographs were taken to document the scene as it would have appeared on the night of the collision. The photos verified both natural and artificial lighting, illumination of the bicyclist as he approached the intersection, and any natural or artificial obstructions that could have impeded visibility at the scene. The photos, interviews, personal accounts of the bicyclist, and satellite imagery of the scene were all used to create a series of animations that clearly established the other driver’s improper failure to yield the lawful right of way to the bicyclist. When presented with this detailed and compelling depiction of the incident, the insurer readily agreed to pay its $100,000 policy limit.