A recent $13 million dollar settlement in favor of a permanently injured bicyclist reminds us of the potential dangers of riding on poorly resurfaced roads.
According to the American Association for Justice ‘s Trial Magazine, Walter Rutland, 49, was bicycling in Rochester, NY, on the shoulder of a state highway when he decelerated to the right to avoid a vehicle approaching from behind. Rutland’s tire caught in an alleged 2½ inch drop between a newly resurfaced section of the road and the old road. He fell off his bike and sustained severe neck and spinal injuries. Despite receiving spinal fusion surgery, Rutland suffers permanent and incomplete quadriplegia. Rutland alleges that his injuries prevent him from performing everyday tasks and will require extensive medical treatment. (VerdictSearch)
With the help of a personal injury lawyer, Rutland sued the State of New York, the entity responsible for maintaining the state highway. At trial, a state maintenance supervisor acknowledged that the drop-off in the road would have been repaired had he noticed it. Even though Rutland allegedly biked this section of road regularly and was aware of the resurfacing project, the court found the State 90% liable and Rutland only 10% liable for his injuries. The State then agreed to pay Rutland $13 million for his past and future medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. (VerdictSearch)