While many bicycle accidents involve negligent motorists who are not paying attention to their surroundings or motorists who are driving aggressively and strike cyclists, the recent settlement makes clear that matters of premises liability can also affect the rate of bicycle accidents in urban areas.
Details of the Bicycle Accident in San Diego
As the NBC 7 News report articulates, the $4.85 million settlement arises out of a debilitating bicycle accident that occurred on an afternoon in 2014. The plaintiff, Clifford Brown, had been cycling on College Avenue in Del Cerro. At around 1:00 p.m., Brown “hit a portion of uneven pavement.” That incident resulted in the cyclist being “launched more than 20 feet in the air.” In addition to having several of his teeth knocked out, Brown also sustained spinal cord injuries and head trauma.
Who was responsible for the bicycle accident? The injured plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego, alleging that it was responsible for his injuries as a result of the poorly maintained sidewalks. His complaint is not the only one concerning potential premises liability issues throughout the city. One frequent San Diego cyclist, who also owns a bicycle shop, noted that “the descent off of Mount Soledad has a lot of very unsafe rises in pavement, cracks, and potholes.” Other cyclists, too, have highlighted the dangerous riding areas around the city where “they still see dangerous cracks and uneven pavement.”
In response to Brown’s lawsuit, the City of San Diego agreed to a settlement of $4.85 million. A spokesperson for the City of San Diego underscored the severity of Brown’s injuries and emphasizes that “the settlement isn’t about making someone rich, but about making sure Brown is able to pay for his medical expenses for the rest of his life.”
Premises Liability Law and Bicycle Accidents
Who is responsible for a San Diego bicycle accident that happens on a sidewalk? Generally speaking, a premises liability claim, under California law, requires a plaintiff to show the following:
- Defendant owned, leased, occupied, or controlled the property;
- Defendant was negligent in its maintenance of the property;
- Plaintiff suffered a harm; and
- Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.
While the City of San Diego may be responsible for poorly maintained roadways, is it always responsible for damaged or poorly maintained sidewalks? As a report from the League of California Cities clarifies, the answer often depends upon where the sidewalk is located. Municipalities in California can “impose a repair obligation for damaged sidewalks on adjacent property owners.”
Discussing Your Case with a San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer
If you got hurt in a bicycle accident on a San Diego street or sidewalk, it is important to learn more about filing a lawsuit by speaking with a San Diego bicycle accident attorney about your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about how we can assist you.
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(image courtesy of Eric Parks)