Case Spotlight: Victory on Bicyclist Case, $107,120.66 Verdict

When the personal injury Law Offices of Laskin Balma in Sacramento California went to court to hear the verdict, the whole office was somber. After only one hour of deliberations, we were sure that it was not good news. Usually, when juries decide to award monetary damages, they take a while to come to the numbers. It’s a discussion among the jury members, some are high, some are low, and they need to negotiate to reach an agreed-upon figure. A fast jury verdict can sometimes mean that the talk about money did not take place.

When we received the call that the jury came in with $107,120.66, we were shocked and wondered how it happened so fast. We got the story later that afternoon. During his closing argument, Alan M. Laskin personal injury attorney had mapped out what he thought the Jury should award. He gave reasons and explanation for the numbers he suggested and when the Jury went in to deliberation, they agreed with him. They used his suggested numbers except they decreased past general damages by $5,000.00. This is what can happen when an attorney is responsible and prepared. Alan M. Laskin asked for a reasonable award and his client got it!

This case was interesting because it involved a bicyclist who was riding at night without a light on his bike. For those of you who don’t know, California Vehicle Code section 21201(d) requires that a bicycle operated during darkness must be equipped with a headlamp (21201(e) allows a rider to have a lamp on a helmet in lieu of this). Our client didn’t have a headlamp or a helmet, but the area was well-lit with street lamps, there was an independent witness who could see our client approaching, and the Defendant’s headlights actually moved across the bicyclist’s body.

The defendant turned left and struck the plaintiff causing him to fly across the hood of his vehicle and down to the ground on the other side. It was a hard hit and injured our client pretty badly. The traffic collision report put the defendant at fault, but he never took responsibility for the crash and always maintained that our client hit him (even though the property damage said otherwise). Even at trial the defendant refused to admit it was his fault.

Our bicyclist was a good guy, he admitted that he should have had a lamp. He said he thought the defendant saw him because it wasn’t that dark due to the street lamps and the defendant’s headlights moved across his body. He was sure that the defendant had seen him. Our expert witness made it clear that the defendant should have seen him even without the bicycle having a lamp. In fact, in deposition, the defense expert witness admitted that the defendant should have been able to see our client and stop before the collision. But the defendant stubbornly refused to take any responsibility for the crash.

In the end the Jury awarded 70% liability to the defendant and 30% to our client. Our client accepted his portion of responsibility with grace and was pleased with the verdict. Even with the 30% reduction, we beat our very first Offer to Compromise pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 998, meaning that all costs are going to be paid by the defense because if they would have just accepted our reasonable offer for settlement two years ago, we wouldn’t have had to incur those costs.

Attorneys can sometimes have the reputation of being greedy and overestimating what a case is worth. People believe that by starting high, if it gets reduced, you’ll still have a good number. We don’t operate like that, it only makes juries angry. Alan M. Laskin personal injury attorney knew what the case was worth because of years and years of experience. He knew how to explain it to a jury so that it would make sense and in the end they agreed with him (well mostly, they did take off $5,000.00 of past pain and suffering).

Alan knows how to take a case to trial and win. Even if liability isn’t 100%. If you’ve been in a bicycle versus vehicle collision, you need Laskin Balma Attorneys at Law on your side.

Need advice? Feel you have a potential personal injury case? Contact Laskin Balma Attorneys at Law in Sacramento California today.