GWC Injury Lawyers attorney Michael W. Kopsick recently obtained a $446,000.00 settlement for a Navy officer who sustained multiple injuries when he was hit by a van while riding his bicycle.
Van Hits Navy Officer on Bicycle
On June 24, 2015, Mr. Kopsick’s client, a 51-year-old United States Navy Chief Petty Officer at the time, was riding his bicycle northbound in the dedicated bicycle lane of a major Chicago street in the middle of the afternoon. At the same time, a van was also traveling northbound on the same street, to the rear of the client’s bicycle.
The Navy officer then properly signaled that he was moving out of the bicycle lane and into a safe area of the street to avoid a road crew that was adding new lane markings. Nevertheless, the van’s driver failed to reduce his speed and struck the Navy officer from behind, sending him flying into the air and onto the pavement.
Multiple Injuries, Early Retirement
As a result of this incident, Mr. Kopsick’s client sustained multiple injuries, including a torn meniscus. After receiving conservative therapy, he ultimately underwent surgery to repair his knee.
Mr. Kopsick’s client also suffered a closed-head injury, exacerbation of preexisting post-traumatic stress disorder, and damage to the neck and back.
Because of his injuries, Mr. Kopsick’s client was forced to retire early from the Navy, where he had served with distinction for 21 years. This premature retirement had a negative impact on his future pension benefits and was a source of personal and professional pain to him.
Eyewitnesses Support Client’s Case
The van’s driver claimed that he did not have enough time to avoid striking the Navy officer, but several factors – which were confirmed by multiple eyewitnesses whom Mr. Kopsick tracked down in the course of his investigation – suggested that the driver’s account was not credible.
“This incident took place in broad daylight,” said Mr. Kopsick, “so the driver should have been able to see not only my client, but also the presence of the bicycle lane, the road crew, and the flashing construction sign warning that the lane was closing, which meant that anybody traveling in that lane would have had to merge into the street.
“And according to eyewitnesses,” Mr. Kopsick continued, “my client clearly signaled before leaving the bicycle lane. Any cautious driver should have known his intentions in advance.”
Additionally, eyewitnesses to the scene stated that the van’s driver was looking down when he struck the Navy officer, meaning that he had negligently breached his duty to keep his eyes on the road to avoid a serious traffic accident.
Large Settlement for Client
Faced with the evidence that Mr. Kopsick assembled proving that the van’s driver was at fault for the incident, the Defense offered to resolve the matter through mediation in order to avoid trial, resulting in a $446,000.00 settlement for the former Navy officer.
Chicago Bicycle Accident Lawyers
While riding a bicycle can be an enjoyable means of transportation, one with proven health and environmental benefits, bicycle accidents are often more dangerous than other types of traffic accidents because bicycles leave their riders especially vulnerable. With no metal frame surrounding them, as in cars and trucks, bicyclists are exposed to direct contact with other vehicles, obstacles, and the road itself.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, please contact GWC today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago bicycle accident lawyers. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives.