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Bias against cyclists is rampant and unfair

Old 04-10-13, 10:40 AM
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Bias against cyclists is rampant and unfair

"Last year, my trial involved the wrongful death of an 83-year-old man in Macomb County. He was run over by a commercial truck and killed as he was attempting to legally cross the road on his bicycle.

There were many people who were quite willing to assign blame against him for just riding a bicycle. And there are many people willing to forgive clear negligence if the victim is on a bicycle."

Read the full article:
https://www.michiganautolaw.com/auto-...mber_229836245
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Old 04-10-13, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor
"Last year, my trial involved the wrongful death of an 83-year-old man in Macomb County. He was run over by a commercial truck and killed as he was attempting to legally cross the road on his bicycle.

There were many people who were quite willing to assign blame against him for just riding a bicycle. And there are many people willing to forgive clear negligence if the victim is on a bicycle."

Read the full article:
https://www.michiganautolaw.com/auto-...mber_229836245
Another example of what cyclists' encounter every day. I hate drawing this parallel. But mentally, it reminds me of what African Americans went through during the race riots of the 1950's n' 1960's(and in some situations, even today).

Where LEO's and the judicial system will look for any excuse to put down a certain segment of the population. Just that certain segment of the population is judged to disrupt the natural order of things.
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Old 04-10-13, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
Another example of what cyclists' encounter every day. I hate drawing this parallel. But mentally, it reminds me of what African Americans went through during the race riots of the 1950's n' 1960's(and in some situations, even today).

Where LEO's and the judicial system will look for any excuse to put down a certain segment of the population. Just that certain segment of the population is judged to disrupt the natural order of things.
Well, the jury did award $2.5 million to the estate of the cyclist, so it's not clear that this case shows evidence of bias.
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Old 04-10-13, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by alhedges
Well, the jury did award $2.5 million to the estate of the cyclist, so it's not clear that this case shows evidence of bias.
It does. Because if you read closely, right after the mention of the $2.55M verdict, the jury also said it was the deceased cyclist's fault for the way he was riding. So the attorney for the trucking company will undoubtedly jump on that, to get the $2.55M thrown out on appeal. Unless the $2.55M judgment, is just a drop in the bucket, for the trucking company. Such that they can still operate without question of a major penalty to the business.
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Old 04-10-13, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
It does. Because if you read closely, right after the mention of the $2.55M verdict, the jury also said it was the deceased cyclist's fault for the way he was riding.
I suspect that the entire purpose of that post is for the lawyer to say "Look at how the deck was stacked against me, and yet I still got a $2.55M verdict for my client!" Still, it's interesting, and he's got quite a bit of interesting stuff on his site.

That said, he doesn't describe that part very well in that post, but in in another post about what seems to be the same trial, he said this --

The jury deliberated for five hours and returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiffs for $2.55 million, allocating percentage of negligence as follows: 50% Defendant truck driver, 20% Defendant Allied and 30% Mr. Shekoski.
So the jury thought the cyclist was 30% at fault. In the post he said "Yet the jury still found fault on behalf of my client ..." but that's a bit misleading, even if technically true. It would have been less misleading had he said "Yet the jury still found some fault on behalf of my client ..."

Not being a lawyer, I'm not sure what that means for his client. as I understand it, in some states, if it's found that a person is even 1% at fault for their injury that the other party doesn't have to pay anything. (And this is particularly nasty, as a jury will often assign some token amount of blame to the victim "just to be fair", because they feel they did something to contribute, even if everything they did was legal. And yes, simply riding a bicycle might be enough.)

In other states, as long as the other party is at least 51% at fault, they're obligated to pay the damages multiplied by their at fault percentage -- so in this case, the other parties would have to pay 70% of that $2.55M judgement. And maybe there's other options, such as having to pay 100% of the judgement? I don't know.
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Old 04-10-13, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor
"Last year, my trial involved the wrongful death of an 83-year-old man in Macomb County. He was run over by a commercial truck and killed as he was attempting to legally cross the road on his bicycle.

There were many people who were quite willing to assign blame against him for just riding a bicycle. And there are many people willing to forgive clear negligence if the victim is on a bicycle."

Read the full article:
https://www.michiganautolaw.com/auto-...mber_229836245
The article provides insufficient information for readers to reach any conclusion about division of negligence.
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Old 04-10-13, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
It does. Because if you read closely, right after the mention of the $2.55M verdict, the jury also said it was the deceased cyclist's fault for the way he was riding. So the attorney for the trucking company will undoubtedly jump on that, to get the $2.55M thrown out on appeal. Unless the $2.55M judgment, is just a drop in the bucket, for the trucking company. Such that they can still operate without question of a major penalty to the business.
No.

The Lawyer who won the case is claiming he won against great bias.

Just for contrast My wife's previous Husband was killed when hit by a Caltrans vehicle while changing a flat on the shoulder. It was determined the Caltrans Driver was 100% at fault. She was also badlt injured.

He had lots of good earning years ahead of him. The award was well under $1,000,000.

The amount of the award makes it seem that in this case there is a huge bias in favor of cyclists (or more likely against trucking companies).
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Old 04-10-13, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc
I suspect that the entire purpose of that post is for the lawyer to say "Look at how the deck was stacked against me, and yet I still got a $2.55M verdict for my client!" Still, it's interesting, and he's got quite a bit of interesting stuff on his site.

That said, he doesn't describe that part very well in that post, but in in another post about what seems to be the same trial, he said this --



So the jury thought the cyclist was 30% at fault. In the post he said "Yet the jury still found fault on behalf of my client ..." but that's a bit misleading, even if technically true. It would have been less misleading had he said "Yet the jury still found some fault on behalf of my client ..."

Not being a lawyer, I'm not sure what that means for his client. as I understand it, in some states, if it's found that a person is even 1% at fault for their injury that the other party doesn't have to pay anything. (And this is particularly nasty, as a jury will often assign some token amount of blame to the victim "just to be fair", because they feel they did something to contribute, even if everything they did was legal. And yes, simply riding a bicycle might be enough.)

In other states, as long as the other party is at least 51% at fault, they're obligated to pay the damages multiplied by their at fault percentage -- so in this case, the other parties would have to pay 70% of that $2.55M judgement. And maybe there's other options, such as having to pay 100% of the judgement? I don't know.
I know of no such state.

There is one thing that comes close to the 1% you mention and does come into play here.

Let's say instead it found the cyclist 30% at fault, the driver 65% at fault and the company 5% at fault and the driver is broke. The company (and/or their insurers) would have to pay all 70% that was not the victims fault.

BTW that does not let the driver off scot free, the company can come after him and keep doing so for the full 65%.
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Old 04-10-13, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99
No.

The Lawyer who won the case is claiming he won against great bias.

Just for contrast My wife's previous Husband was killed when hit by a Caltrans vehicle while changing a flat on the shoulder. It was determined the Caltrans Driver was 100% at fault. She was also badlt injured.

He had lots of good earning years ahead of him. The award was well under $1,000,000.

The amount of the award makes it seem that in this case there is a huge bias in favor of cyclists (or more likely against trucking companies).
By the jury adding the comment that the deceased cyclist was partly at fault after awarding a 2.55M judgment, makes it only a token victory. Because the jury was still finding fault with the cyclist's behavior.

As for a possible bias towards cyclists' pursuant to the award amount, maybe. I bet the trucking company will appeal the judgment.
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Old 04-10-13, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith99
I know of no such state.
According to wikipedia, pure contributory negliglence is the law in Alabama, the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia.
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Old 04-10-13, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dougmc
So the jury thought the cyclist was 30% at fault. In the post he said "Yet the jury still found fault on behalf of my client ..." but that's a bit misleading, even if technically true. It would have been less misleading had he said "Yet the jury still found some fault on behalf of my client ..."

Not being a lawyer, I'm not sure what that means for his client. as I understand it, in some states, if it's found that a person is even 1% at fault for their injury that the other party doesn't have to pay anything. (And this is particularly nasty, as a jury will often assign some token amount of blame to the victim "just to be fair", because they feel they did something to contribute, even if everything they did was legal. And yes, simply riding a bicycle might be enough.)

In other states, as long as the other party is at least 51% at fault, they're obligated to pay the damages multiplied by their at fault percentage -- so in this case, the other parties would have to pay 70% of that $2.55M judgement. And maybe there's other options, such as having to pay 100% of the judgement? I don't know.
There are two concepts here: contributory negligence and comparative fault. Contributory negligence means that if the injured person contributed to the accident *in any way,* the person who injured him was off the hook. A few years ago, a handful of states still used this standard - DC, did, and Alabama did, and maybe Maryland?

Comparative fault is where you assess the amount of responsibility each party bears and divide the damages up in proportion to the level of fault. Except that, in most cases, if you are over 50% at fault, you don't collect anything.



Originally Posted by Keith99
Let's say instead it found the cyclist 30% at fault, the driver 65% at fault and the company 5% at fault and the driver is broke. The company (and/or their insurers) would have to pay all 70% that was not the victims fault.

BTW that does not let the driver off scot free, the company can come after him and keep doing so for the full 65%.
Yes, although the fault is divided up between the two contributors, they are jointly and severally liable.

So in this case, the biker's family will get 70% of the $2.55 million, or about $1.8 million. After attorneys fees, they'll probably keep $1.2 million.

So I don't see a lot of bias against cyclists here, although of course there may be some.
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Old 04-10-13, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
By the jury adding the comment that the deceased cyclist was partly at fault after awarding a 2.55M judgment, makes it only a token victory. Because the jury was still finding fault with the cyclist's behavior.

As for a possible bias towards cyclists' pursuant to the award amount, maybe. I bet the trucking company will appeal the judgment.
It's not a "token" victory. It's a $1.8 million verdict. That's a lot of money.

And of course the trucking company will appeal. The trucking company would appeal if the cyclist was found 0% at fault. But the jury's finding in no way makes an appeal any easier to win.
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Old 04-10-13, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by alhedges
It's not a "token" victory. It's a $1.8 million verdict. That's a lot of money.

And of course the trucking company will appeal. The trucking company would appeal if the cyclist was found 0% at fault. But the jury's finding in no way makes an appeal any easier to win.
I still think, the money was a drop in the bucket. In addition to the attorney getting 1/3 of the verdict, they will then have to pay an appellate attorney, when the trucking company appeals. So, The original 2.55M judgment will be eaten up in attorneys' fees'.
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Old 04-10-13, 11:58 PM
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What we all need to realize is that this is an issue reflective of our whole society. Commercials and magazines tell us that whoever drives the biggest/fastest/sexiest car has the most right to the road that we all pay for. Everything is about I, me, and myself.

Until we address the root cause of superiority issues and start to treat all people equally (whether it be skin color or mode of transportation) society will continue to suffer.
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Old 04-11-13, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by E.S.
What we all need to realize is that this is an issue reflective of our whole society. Commercials and magazines tell us that whoever drives the biggest/fastest/sexiest car has the most right to the road that we all pay for. Everything is about I, me, and myself.

Until we address the root cause of superiority issues and start to treat all people equally (whether it be skin color or mode of transportation) society will continue to suffer.
+10
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Old 04-11-13, 04:57 AM
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Old 04-11-13, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516
I still think, the money was a drop in the bucket. In addition to the attorney getting 1/3 of the verdict, they will then have to pay an appellate attorney, when the trucking company appeals. So, The original 2.55M judgment will be eaten up in attorneys' fees'.
You have a fixed idea in your mind that this is unfair and you just won't be dissuaded by facts.

Most people killed while *driving a car* don't get an award nearly this large. Most people killed while walking don't get an award nearly this large. This large award does not in any way show bias against cyclists.

And your point about attorneys fees doesn't really make sense - *everyone* who hires an attorney has to pay them, regardless of whether biking, driving, walking, flying, or boating.

The fact is, a jury decided that the driver of a car who injured a cyclist should have to pay $2.5 million, less 30%. A very large amount of money. Even after fees for the appeal (likely $10-20k), the family will have over a million dollars. There is just nothing in *this case* suggesting bias against cyclists. As Keith pointed out above, the driver hit and killed while changing a tire got less than $1 million for his injury - and presumably he had the same attorneys fees to pay as everyone else.
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Old 04-11-13, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by alhedges
Most people killed while *driving a car* don't get an award nearly this large. Most people killed while walking don't get an award nearly this large.
Most of the time when somebody is killed on the road, there's not a faceless company to sue with deep pockets.

If you get killed by Joe Schmoe, with some luck he'll be insured, and so you'll get $30k or whatever his insurance limit is. Joe himself has no assets that can be sued for, so the case won't even go to court -- it's not cost effective to do so.

But if you get killed by a company that can pay a large settlement, it makes much more sense to take it to court, and the jury will see those deep pockets (even if they aren't there) and may make a much larger award.

Most cases where a company is sued for killing somebody are settled out of court, and the amounts are probably kept secret. They're usually settled for less, yes, but when they do go to court it's a gamble -- the award could be a lot more, or it could be nothing.

This page gives an average jury award for an accidental death case of about $1.4M -- though it's not clear what percentage of that figure is from auto collision deaths (as opposed to medical malpractice, for example.)

There is just nothing in *this case* suggesting bias against cyclists.
There *was* one thing -- the jury found the cyclist to be 30% at fault for the incident, even though (if we take the lawyer at his word) everything he did was legal. The implication here is that this 30% was strictly due to this bias -- that the cyclist did nothing wrong but being on a bike, and yet the jury said he was 30% at fault, so it must be just because he was on a bike. Maybe the jury explained their reasoning somewhat, or maybe the lawyer just assumed?

I don't know if this is actually true or not, but it's a reasonable theory, so it's more than nothing.
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