|Screen capture of video showing the
moment before impact.
(Scroll down for full video.)
Persistent sleuthing, hard work and a little luck has brought about successful resolution of a bicyclist’s legal claim against a driver that struck him from behind last year. Our law firm represented the bicyclist, an active, physically fit 75 year old man. The case resolved for the full amount of available auto insurance coverage.
The collision occurred on May 1, 2013 at around 6:30 a.m. on West Washington Street in West Chicago, Illinois. As the video footage below shows the cyclist was pedaling his Trek mountain bike eastbound when he was hit from behind by the driver of a 2007 Toyota Camry. Before impact he was well-established in the roadway and was cautiously merging left preparing to make a left turn. In so doing he was fully compliant with the Illinois Vehicle Code. The driver told police that she was traveling at about 30 mph at the moment of impact.
Soon after the bicyclist hired us we received the Illinois Traffic Crash Report created by the West Chicago Police Department. It suggested that the bicyclist was at fault for causing the crash. The report quoted the driver as stating that as she drove east “a man on a bicycle struck her vehicle and hit her windshield.” She also told police that, “She did not see the bicyclist and was not distracted by anything.” Witnesses apparently told police that, “The bicyclist began to enter the middle of the east bound lanes in front of” the car. The report concluded stating, “No citations were issued.” Unfortunately, our client was unable to provide us with much assistance. Other than recalling that he had been eastbound on Washington, he was unable to recall much else having sustained a head injury that impacted his memory. We got to work gathering evidence. The first thing we did was carefully survey the area, looking for cameras that may have captured the incident. We got lucky. The crash took place in front of a jewelry store. It was likely to have security cameras. It was important to contact the store right away, before any existing footage of the crash was deleted or recorded over. Thankfully, the store owner was cooperative. He had several cameras on the outside of the building and agreed to search the video archive for us. It turned out that the cameras captured the crash from multiple angles, which were forwarded to us. I have posted the best views below. The first video is from the camera looking west and clearly shows the cyclist and car that hit him in the moments leading up to impact. The second video shows the terrifying collision and its aftermath. A warning: Some will find the videos disturbing. They are posted with our client’s knowledge and permission.
The footage allowed us to rebut the suggestion in the police report that the bicyclist came out of nowhere and mindlessly ran into the car. It shows that he was well established within the roadway so as to give a reasonably careful driver plenty of time and space to see him and avoid hitting him.
The cyclist made a downright remarkable recovery from what were very serious injuries. He was knocked unconscious at the scene, his head having smashed the vehicle’s windshield. His lower left leg was badly broken, requiring surgical repair. He also had several very large open wounds that required surgical closure. After days in the hospital he spent more than a month in a rehabilitation facility. Though his medical bills were quite substantial, the driver only carried the minimum amount of insurance coverage permitted under Illinois law, $25,000. After we provided the video of the crash to the driver’s insurer, it quickly tendered the full amount of the policy. We then looked to our client’s own auto insurer to provide additional compensation pursuant to the underinsured motorist provision of his policy. The video footage also persuaded our client’s insurer to tender the full amount of available coverage, thereby maximizing his compensation.