Client: George H.; County: Sacramento
Attorney John Demas represented George H. in a bicycle accident that occurred in Sacramento County. Our client was riding his bicycle through an intersection when the driver of a commercial van entered the intersection unsafely and struck him. The case was litigated aggressively. The commercial van’s insurance company claimed that our client bore some responsibility for the collision because he was riding on the wrong side of the road and was not wearing a bicycle helmet. In addition, the case posed significant challenges because our client was homeless at the time of the collision and a long-time drug user.
In California, there is no law requiring adults to wear bicycle helmets. However, defendants in cases involving head injuries and bicyclists often argue that “a reasonable person” would wear a helmet and that wearing a helmet would decrease the extent of injuries suffered. However, it is the defendant’s burden to prove that the helmet would have made a difference. To counter this defense, we hired a world-renowned expert on helmets and head trauma, an engineer who has even consulted with the NFL to reduce head injuries.
Our expert conclusively proved that even if our client was wearing a helmet, he still would have sustained a significant head injury due to the location of the skull fracture. The defendants also questioned the nature and extent of our client’s head injury by pointing to his long history of drug use as being the cause of his brain injury. We had our client evaluated by one of the leading head injury doctors in California and we proved he did, in fact, sustain a traumatic brain injury from the collision and that his ongoing cognitive issues were related to the collision and not his prior drug use. The case settled shortly before trial after an all-day mediation for $3,000,000 – the defendant’s insurance policy limit.