Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District has held that a Taiwanese bicycle company will remain a party defendant in a lawsuit filed by an Illinois resident who was injured after the fork of her bicycle snapped in half without warning.

The appeals panel has found that Giant Manufacturing Ltd., a Taiwanese company, was within the personal jurisdiction of Janet Kowal’s lawsuit. In 2013, she sued Giant Manufacturing in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Giant Manufacturing is the Taiwanese company that makes Giant bicycles. The lawsuit included as defendants other entities who sold or did maintenance work on her Giant bike.

Because Giant Manufacturing, through its United States subsidiary and its authorized retailers, had enough of a deliberate presence within Illinois, the court held that the company could be potentially liable in the lawsuits involving one of its products.  The case was appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court on an interlocutory basis.

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Ricky Murphy rode his bicycle across the street at an intersection when a motor vehicle driven by the defendant Stephen Lane Hare collided with him. Murphy who was 49 at the time suffered a fractured left ankle and tibia.

Because of the fractures, his ankle developed necrosis, which will necessitate a future ankle fusion surgery or an ankle replacement. Murphy’s medical expenses totaled $44,000.

As a landscaper, he was earning approximately $20,000 per year.  Now he is unable to do that job and works as a Salvation Army intake clerk at a reduced salary.

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Gabriel Pablo was riding his bicycle westbound on 26th Street and traveling in the designated bike lane near St. Louis Avenue when a city of Chicago employee, Harry Sanders, opened the door of his parked car into the bike lane. Pablo and his bike collided with the opened door. This incident took place on July 24, 2013.

Pablo, 38, was transported by ambulance to Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago with injuries to his head, back, left arm and left shoulder. He was diagnosed with partial tears of the labrum and rotator cuff in his shoulder, eventually requiring arthroscopic repair surgery, which left four surgical scars. Pablo argued that he still suffers ongoing pain and limitations in his left shoulder and back.

He produced $112,287 in medical expenses. Sanders was ticketed and pled guilty to failure to yield. The court records indicate that Sanders was dismissed from the case shortly before the start of this jury trial.

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Michael Sprick, a German citizen, was traveling through the United States for an extended bicycle cycling trip. He was an enthusiastic and avid cyclist. While he was riding his bicycle on a shoulder of a two-lane road in Virginia, a truck driver, Norman Marchant, driving a Freightliner truck at about 55 mph, drove onto the shoulder of the road and struck Sprick. Sprick was ejected from his bicycle and thrown more than 100 feet.

Sprick, 40 at the time, suffered multiple severe injuries and went into cardiac arrest, which resulted in anoxic brain damage. Sprick was airlifted to a medical center where doctors diagnosed a traumatic brain injury, including axonal shearing, cerebral acceleration trauma, left occipital ischemia with hemorrhaging, hydrocephalus and spastic quadriparesis.

He also sustained multiple spinal and rib fractures, a pulmonary contusion and collapsed lung and injuries to his spleen. Sprick was placed on a ventilator and was treated for three months incurring $591,000 in medical expenses.

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Scott Rankin, 37, was riding his bicycle on a two-lane rural, nonresidential road when he collided with the back of a United Parcel Service truck parked partially on the road. Rankin suffered serious injuries, the worst of which resulted in incomplete quadriplegia. He had been a band director earning about $60,000 a year, but now is unable to work.

Rankin filed suit against UPS claiming negligence per se for its driver’s violation of the Texas Transportation Code. The statute prohibits trucks such as a UPS vehicle in nonresidential districts from leaving their vehicles on the main part of the highway unless it is impractical to do so.

Rankin alleged that UPS endangered others on the road by choosing not to train its drivers on applicable parking laws in an effort to promote driver efficiency and safety.

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On June 21, 2012, Matthew Lyman, 19, was driving his bicycle northbound on by the defendant, Thomas Garcia. Garcia’s car was traveling westbound on Congress Parkway. Matthew sustained a fractured left wrist, which required open reduction internal fixation with a plate and ten screws. A 3-inch surgical scar was left on his wrist, he had road rash on the left side of his torso and his left arm. He also suffered permanent discoloration of the skin on his left arm from the road rash.Lyman had $34,332 in medical expenses along with $3,800 in lost time from his job as a bicycle mechanic.

He argued that he entered the intersection (Congress and Michigan) on a green light and that the light was yellow when the crash occurred. The defendant Garcia argued that his light was green as he approached and entered the intersection and there were no vehicles or bikes when he entered it. Garcia maintained that Lyman ran a red light on his bike.

Garcia said Lyman and his friend, who was on another bike, were one-third of a block away from the intersection when their light changed to yellow. They decided to pedal faster to beat the light instead of slowing down and stopping. The light turned red prior to the crash, and Garcia could not see Lyman before the impact because Lyman came from his driver’s side behind the mirror, which was where the initial point of contact occurred.

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On Nov. 13, 2012, Kevin York was riding his bicycle near the exit of Busse Wood Forest Preserve in the northwest suburbs of Cook County, Ill., when he was struck by a motor vehicle driven by defendant Kenneth Heffern. Heffern, a 76-year-old retiree, left the scene after the incident.

York, who was 50 at the time, suffered a torn rotator cuff, which required two surgeries. His medical expenses alone were $160,000. Heffern’s wife, Gloria, owned the motor vehicle that hit York and was sued for negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle is a recognized cause of action in the state of Illinois. In this case, since Mrs. Heffern loaned her car to her husband, Mr. Heffern, who she knew or should have known was an unsafe driver, she was claimed to have been negligent as well. Default judgments were entered against both of the Hefferns by the presiding judge. Plaintiff’s counsel, Justin Weinrich, initiated collection proceedings against the Hefferns, including liens on their property, as well as a wage garnishment against the wife. At a bench trial, the judge entered judgment in the amount of $514,507.

Kevin York v. Kenneth Heffern, Gloria Heffern, Case No. 12 L 1223 (Cook County, Ill.).

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On Nov. 9, 2012, Hawree Amin was riding a bicycle eastbound on Winnemac Avenue in the city of Chicago, traveling through the intersection at Clark Street. The defendant, Karl Fujihara, driving eastbound in his car came alongside a car on the left. Amin maintained that Fujihara suddenly veered to the right to avoid a protruding manhole cover and hit Amin’s left shoulder with his car’s right side-view mirror and caused Amin to fall off his bike. He landed on his right knee.

Amin, 26, is an auto mechanic. He sustained blunt trauma contusions and ligament injuries to his left shoulder and right knee. He also suffered a sprained right ankle, low back strain and neck pain.

The defendant Fujihara argued that Amin, who is blind in one eye, rode his bike into the side of Fujihara’s car, denied that he veered to avoid any manhole cover, denied that Amin ever fell to the ground and disputed the extent of his claimed injuries.

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Walter Rutland, 49, was riding his bike in the right lane of a state road that had recently been resurfaced. He moved to the right to avoid a car approaching from behind him. The bicycle’s front tire came on to a drop-off between the newly resurfaced road and a fringe area that had not been resurfaced. Rutland lost control of his bike and fell.

As a result of his fall, he was hospitalized with spinal injuries; an MRI showed swelling at C1-7. He underwent decompression infusion surgery at C2-7, but the injuries resulted in complete quadriplegia. Rutland is now only able to walk about 25 feet. He requires a wheelchair for longer distances to move about. He also requires assistance with most of his daily tasks.

Rutland’s past medical expenses totaled about $700,000 and his future medical expenses and life-care costs were estimated to be about $4.5 million.

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On Jan. 26, 2011, 23-year-old Jerry Oswalt was riding his bike from one dog walking customer’s home to another, riding southbound on Sacramento Avenue near its intersection with Logan Boulevard. Oswalt claimed that he entered the intersection on a green light but was hit at the bike’s rear tire by the defendant’s eastbound car, which ran a red light. The defendant, Esther Fragoso, was claimed to have caused Oswalt to fall and strike his head on the road knocking him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, his head was bleeding and he staggered out of the intersection to a nearby grass median with his bike and laid down.

Oswalt, in addition to the concussion he suffered, sustained a six-inch cut to the right temple area above his eye, facial scarring, a tiny cortical fracture, right orbital hematoma, right knee pain and contusions.

Fragoso, 77 and retired, argued that she had a green light and that Oswalt went through a red light. She also said that her vehicle never made contact with Oswalt’s bicycle and that she saw him lose control of his bike on the wet, snowy pavement and fall to the ground.

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