Attorney John Demas represented Carol K. and Ken K. who were injured in a bicycle collision on the American River Bike Trail in Folsom, California. The case resulted in a $10,200,000 verdict.
The case arose from a collision that occurred on the evening of June 2, 2014. The Defendants, a 19-year-old male, and 16-year-old female were walking on the paved American River Bike Trail near Lake Natoma Shores on a first date. Carol K., a charter school teacher, and Ken K., a commercial airline pilot, were riding their tandem bicycle on the trail. They came around a curve in the trail and saw the pedestrians in front of them. Despite trail rules requiring pedestrians to stay left, and walk on the shoulder in a single file, the Defendants were straddling the dashed line that divides the trail. Ken rang his bicycle bell to alert the pedestrians of his approach and they split apart with the male moving to the left and the female moving to the right. Ken steered the bike to go between the couple, but, at the last moment, the male pedestrians instructed the female pedestrian, who had no experience on the trail, to move to the left. The female pedestrian complied and walked directly into the path of the tandem bicycle, giving Ken no time to react. The bicycle struck the pedestrian and then crashed onto the pavement.
Ken and Carol were both wearing their helmets but were nevertheless knocked unconscious. Though Ken recovered from his injuries, Carol sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for several days. When she regained consciousness, she was hospitalized for months and is left with significant cognitive impairments and a multitude of related conditions.
Ken and Carol retained the Demas Law Group to help them navigate the legal process and seek justice for Carol’s life-changing injuries. John Demas immediately set out to investigate the collision and gain a deep understanding of Carol’s injuries and their impacts.
Mr. Demas filed a civil lawsuit against both pedestrians involved in the collision. He and his team faced aggressive tactics by the Defendants, including a failed attempt to have the case dismissed based on the argument that the male pedestrian, who was not directly involved in the collision, did not owe a duty of care to Carol and Ken.
During the course of the litigation, Mr. Demas assembled a team of some of the top medical experts specializing in traumatic brain injuries, including experts in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Neuropsychology, along with an expert in accident reconstruction and experts in life care planning and economics to calculate the losses suffered by Carol and the cost of the medical care that she will need for the rest of her life.
Defendants steadfastly denied responsibility, hiring 8 experts to challenge liability and damages. After multiple, unsuccessful, settlement discussions with an extremely recalcitrant Defendant, the case headed for trial. As the trial date approached, Mr. Demas conducted focus groups to test case themes, evaluate evidence, and learn how potential jurors would react to the facts of the case and to better understand their preconceptions and biases.
The hard-fought jury trial spanned over three weeks and 20 witnesses. A settlement was reached during the trial with the pedestrian who had walked in front of the tandem bicycle, however, the pedestrian who had given his date the ill-timed instruction to move adamantly refused to take any responsibility. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Carol and Ken, awarding a total of $10,200,000 in damages.
Carol, who before her injuries was a home school teacher described by others as a “visionary” educator, and Ken, a retired Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, are an example of the finest members of our community. The Demas Law Group was honored and privileged to fight for them. Although this family’s lives were irrevocably changed by this collision, the case stands as an example of how purpose and perseverance can bring justice to those injured by the carelessness of others.