The City of Los Angeles recently awarded $6.5 million to a bicyclist who
suffered serious injuries while riding on a public street. Peter Godefroy
was thrown from his bike after striking a pothole and suffered a severe
traumatic brain injury and several broken bones.
personal injury lawsuit alleged that the Sherman Oaks street where the bicycle accident occurred
was so poorly maintained that it had created a “concealed trap for
bicyclists.” It further maintained that Godefroy’s TBI was
so severe that he is expected to have “some permanent disability.”
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the settlement.
The Los Angeles Times reports, the city settled a wrongful death suit earlier this year for $4.5 million.
Edgardo Gabat died after being thrown from his bike when he struck a two-inch
ridge in the pavement in Eagle Rock. In total, Los Angeles paid out more
than $15 million for bicycle accident claims linked to dangerous road
conditions during the last budget year.
Liability for Road Defects on Public Roads
As the lawsuits above highlights, drivers are not always responsible for
bicycle crashes. In some cases, poor road maintenance and other dangerous
road conditions may be to blame.
Under the California Tort Claims Act, “a public entity is not liable
for an injury” except as provided by statute. With regard to premises
liability claims against a government entity,
Government Code section 835 provides, “a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous
condition of its property.” In order to establish liability, the
plaintiff must establish:
- The public entity owned or controlled the property
- The property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury
- The injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition;
- The dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind
of injury which was incurred; and
- A negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity
within the scope of his employment created the dangerous condition; or
the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition
a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect
against the dangerous condition.
Lawsuits involving the California Tort Claims Act must also adhere to strict
deadlines and notice requirements. Accordingly, they are often complex
and require the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a California
bicycle accident, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free