My client is an avid bicyclist. He is used to riding in traffic. On a nice bright Saturday he was pedaling along in Washington DC when a subcompact car made a left turn darting through traffic in front of him. My client tried to stop but could not and struck the side of the car. He fell off damaging his shoulder.
The defendant denied liability. The defendant claimed that there was no contact between my client and the vehicle. There was no crash damage to the side of the car. My client merely lost control of his bicycle and fell off. Further, the defendant claimed that the rotator cuff tear, the injury to the shoulder, which is a very painful injury, had nothing to do with the accident. This injury did require extensive surgery.
I was a bicycle mechanic. I asked to examine the bicycle. I learned that the fork was bent backwards. The fork is one of the weaker parts on the bicycle. The wheel assembly generally absorbs the blow and then bends back the fork which may bend back the frame. In this case, the fork was bent back clearly demonstrating that there was an impact between the bicycle and the car.
The insurance company initially offered $6000 to settle the case. I filed suit on behalf of my client. I took the deposition of the defendant and on the record and under oath forced him to admit that he did not look further up than approximately 15 feet up the road before making the turn. In other words, he turned without looking for the bicyclist. My client was sympathetic and credible in his deposition. We were able to settle his case at over 12 times the original offer.