Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

We go beyond being bicycle lawyers, and advocate for bicycle and pedestrian safety

When you are considering who to retain for your bicycle or pedestrian injury claim, what should you consider? Experience. Our results, some of which are listed below, demonstrate our abilities. You want lawyers who are willing to take your case to trial if need be – not just settle for top dollar. And you want lawyers who sweat the small stuff. There are lots of lawyers who hold themselves out as bicycle lawyers these days. Do they know what a .tcx file is and why it might be important? Do they understand the differences between the vehicular cycling approach and the more recent Eight to Eighty model? Are they involved in bicycle or pedestrian advocacy at the local, state, and national level? We understand the nuances. We not only advocate for our clients, we participate in the League of American Bicyclist’s national summit, CalBike’s advocacy day in Sacramento, and Walk SF, just to name a few. We believe our practice should go beyond client representation – that we need to improve safety and opportunities for those who choose active transportation instead of cars. And as you can see from the photos, you’ll find us out on the streets with you – commuting, taking our children to school, and adventuring.

A sample of some of our successes

Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident / Auto
Case Title: The Doe Family v. Jane Roe
Case Description: Bicyclist struck from behind by distracted driver
Result: Confidential settlement

John Doe was riding a recumbent bicycle during a cross-country bicycle trip. He was outside of Spokane, Washington, on a two-lane rural highway, riding with another individual. They were riding side by side when a van approached from behind. They went single-file for the van to pass. Jane Roe was driving a car in the same direction on the rural highway. Her child, who was in a car seat in the back, was fussy due to dropping his sippy cup. Roe reached back to grab it and hand it to him, taking her eyes off the road. As John Doe started to move back into side-by-side riding, he was struck and killed by Jane Roe’s car. John Doe was a father who for the last 10 years had raised his son by himself. His son was 16 years old at the time his father was killed.

John Doe argued that Jane Roe was a distracted driver and her distraction caused Doe’s death. Roe argued that Doe went back into the roadway when it was unsafe to do so and that the physical evidence, including scratches in the pavement, put Doe four feet into the road when the impact occurred.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Pedestrian
Case Description: Men crushed against wall by out of control car.
Result: $5.5 Million Settlement

Two men were at walk-up windows in San Francisco. An Errant Delivery Co. delivery car left the roadway, went up the wheelchair ramp at that corner, across the sidewalk, and into the walk-up windows. The two men, Juan Diaz and John Doe, were crushed between the car and the building. Diaz, then 27 years old, sustained a severe crush injury to his left leg. The Errant Delivery Co. driver contended that the car's brakes had failed and that the only place for him to go was into the building. Witnesses, including a passenger in the car, contradicted his statement and said that he appeared to lose consciousness and veered into the building. A subsequent inspection of the vehicle determined that there was no vehicle malfunction. The impact speed was approximately 25 miles per hour.

In early 2005, Errant Delivery Co.'s counsel contacted plaintiffs' counsel to say that Errant Delivery Co. acknowledged responsibility for the incident but that it was too early to put a value on the case. Errant Delivery Co. wanted to make a pre-resolution partial Settlement payment to provide plaintiffs with the financial resources they would need to get by until the case was resolved. Errant Delivery Co. provided plaintiffs with over $1 Million at that point. This early display of good faith allowed the parties to continue discussions and eventually reach a resolution that provided plaintiffs with sufficient compensation without forcing Errant Delivery Co. into bankruptcy. As a result, the plaintiffs were justly compensated and over 1,000 employees at Errant Delivery Co. were able to keep their jobs.

Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident
Case Title: Bill Bicyclist v. Buick Driver
Case Description: Bicyclist doored while riding along city street
Result: $350,000 settlement

Bill Bicyclist, in his early twenties, was riding his bike. A Buick driver who had parallel parked along the street failed to notice Bicyclist. The Buick driver opened his driver’s door directly in front of Bicyclist. Bicyclist hit the partially open door, which speared Bicyclist’s chest. Bicyclist suffered a sucking wound that required surgical repair and a week of hospitalization. Bicyclist was left with a substantial scar on his chest but was otherwise expected to make a full recovery.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Pedestrian
Case Description: Pedestrian struck by car pushed onto sidewalk by driver making illegal left turn.
Result: $3 Million Settlement

Jane Doe was a pedestrian waiting to cross the street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. A car, driven by someone unfamiliar with San Francisco, was in the far right lane of a one-way street. The car was the first car at the light. The driver realized that he needed to make a left turn. As the light turned green, the car driver made an illegal left turn in front of the other two lanes to his left. A Jeep, who was headed in the same direction as the car, was timing the lights and going between 25-40 miles per hour. The Jeep driver noticed that there were no cars in the far left lane. He anticipated that the light would turn green just as he crossed the intersection and did not slow down at all for the intersection. As the light turned green, the car turned left from the right lane, directly in front of the Jeep. The Jeep struck the left rear quarter panel of the car, propelling the car sideways and up onto the curb. The car pinned Jane Doe against a streetlight. She sustained severe crush injuries to her legs. One leg was subsequently amputated. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident / Auto
Case Title: Charlie Cyclist v. Driver
Case Description: Driver pulls out into traffic directly in front of bicyclist
Result: $50,000 settlement

Charlie Cyclist was part of a weekend group ride. He was descending a downhill road at roughly 35 miles per hour. Cyclist had the right of way, was in a designated bicycle lane, and was travelling at the speed limit. A driver failed to notice Cyclist. The driver pulled out from a side street directly in front of Cyclist. Cyclist slammed on his brakes but was unable to stop before colliding with the side of Driver’s car.

Cyclist had a non-displaced collarbone fracture and had some road rash.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Trucking Incident / Pedestrian
Case Description: Pedestrian run over and killed by truck making right turn.
Result: $1.75 Million Settlement

Michael Hoffman, husband and father of two young children, was crossing the street in San Francisco. A Feely Trucking Company big rig made a right turn and struck and crushed Hoffman. The truck cab crossed in front of Hoffman, cutting him off in the crosswalk. The trailer struck Hoffman, knocked him to the ground, and crushed him with the rear right tires. Hoffman died from the severe crush injuries two hours after the incident. The matter settled before trial.

Case Type: Personal Injury / Auto / Pedestrian
Case Description: Pedestrian struck by right turning driver.
Result: $1.2 Million Settlement

Sarah Student, 28 years old, was walking her regular route to take MUNI home from San Francisco State University where she was a junior. After waiting for the pedestrian signal permitting her to walk, Student began to cross the busy intersection on the outer edge of a group of other pedestrians. Nina Nanny, driving a late-model Volvo, failed to stop at the light. The Volvo struck Student on the left side of her body throwing Student onto the hood of the car, which she dented with her body. Student then fell to the ground striking her head on the pavement. Nanny, who was driving her employer's car with permission, was late to her class at San Francisco State University where she had an exam. Although Nanny saw that the light at the intersection was yellow, she tried to make in through to avoid waiting for a red light.

Student suffered a C5-6 herniation causing chronic pain in her neck radiating into her right shoulder, requiring an anterior cervical disk fusion. Student also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury which caused significant cognitive deficits including diminishment in Student's short-term memory, concentration, and mental stamina. Student met the criteria for mild traumatic brain injury even without a definite loss of conscious due to her period of posttraumatic amnesia followed by confusion, and cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms which persisted beyond one-year post incident. While Student may benefit from learning compensation strategies, she will not improve organically to recover her pre-incident status. The matter settled before trial.