$154,000 Jury Verdict for Bicyclist Injured by Car Turning Into Chicago Parking Garage; Olsen v. Galla

Bicyclist Christopher Olsen, 25, was riding his bike northbound on Dearborn between Monroe and Madison streets in downtown Chicago. He was traveling in the right curb lane when the defendant’s northbound Lexus Sedan made a right turn directly in front of him as he was trying to enter a parking garage. The defendant, Richard Galla, testified at trial that he was heading to a Loop theater with his wife and two grandchildren.

This incident occurred before the Dearborn Street bike lanes were segregated onto the west side of Dearborn.

Before the impact, Olsen braked but contact was made sending him flying over the hood of the Galla car before he hit the ground. Olsen sustained a non-displaced fracture of the radial head in his right elbow. He had five months of chiropractic care for the elbow and neck soreness. One year later, he developed cubital tunnel syndrome of the right hand as a result of the radial head fracture. This required a surgical procedure.

Olson contended that the defendant, Galla, cut him off without warning and that Galla made a sharp right turn without activating his turn signal and chose not to look to his right to check for cyclists before making the right turn.

The incident occurred on a Saturday afternoon. Galla and his family members testified that Galla was stopped in heavy traffic on Dearborn and that his vehicle was moving very slowly toward the garage ramp when plaintiff’s bike came out of nowhere and struck the right front tire and fender of the Lexus.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff was operating his bicycle too fast for the driving conditions and was not paying attention to traffic conditions. It was also claimed by the defendant that Olsen chose not to yield to the defendant’s turning vehicle.

The jury deliberated just under an hour including lunch. One hundred percent of the fault was assessed against defendant Galla. The attorney for Christopher Olsen was Gerald Bekkerman.

The jury’s verdict of $154,000 was made up of the following damages:

$41,343 for past medical expenses;
$60,000 for past and future pain and suffering;
$52,500 for past and future loss of normal life; and
$1,000 for disfigurement.

Before trial, the offer made by defendant to settle the case was $45,000.

Christopher Olsen v. Richard Galla, 11 L 13772 (Cook County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handing bicycle accidents and automobile and truck crashes for individuals and families for more than 37 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Northbrook, Arlington Heights, Harwood Heights, Chicago Heights, Bridgeview, Chicago Ridge, Harvey, Dolton, Chicago (Washington Heights), Chicago (Garfield Park) and La Grange Park, Ill.

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