Car strikes bicycle rider, bicycle rider wins (not really, but it makes for an interesting title)!
Fri, Nov 19 2010 03:14 PM
Several days ago I tried a case in the district court of Maryland for Montgomery County. In this case my client was a young woman bicyclist heading home from work going N. On Connecticut Ave. in Washington DC. It was 6 PM in December and she had her blinking rear light on. She needed to make a left turn Fessenden street and as she was approaching Fessenden Street she worked her way over to traffic signal in all the way. As she was just making a left turn on Fessenden Street a van came by on her left and its right mirror struck her in the left hip knocking her off the bicycle into the intersection. A bystander did not see the accident but did see the van pass through the intersection and stop 40 feet north of the intersection. He saw the bicyclist in the left lane on the ground. Significantly, the pedestrian said that the traffic light for the North and southbound directions was green.
The insurance company denied liability despite the fact that my client and the witness were very credible.
We filed suit and when the case was called for trial by client and the witness testified consistent with above. The van driver testified that he was completely stopped at the light and that the bicyclist was also stopped to his right. When the light turned green he proceeded 1 foot forward approximately and the bicyclist somehow struck his van pushing the mirror out of shape. Incredibly, he testified further that he no longer saw the bicyclist and continued up the street, into ongoing traffic and stopped the car to investigate.
The judge credited the testimony of the plaintiff bicyclist and her witness and concluded that the van driver was mistaken about his testimony. The judge awarded the full amount requested for the injuries that the bicyclist suffered.