The City of Columbus, Ohio, has agreed to pay an accident victim $1.25 million to compensate him for the injuries he sustained because of poor road conditions. The victim's lawsuit alleged that large potholes that the city failed to repair were a major contributing factor in the collision between his bicycle and a car that left him paralyzed.
The accident occurred in 2006 when the victim was riding his bike with a friend down a Columbus street. A nearby car tried to pass them and struck the victim, who says he was too close to the center of the road because potholes on the right side prevented him from moving over to safety.
The city argued that it should not be held responsible for unsafe conditions such as potholes or malfunctioning stop lights, but the appeals court disagreed, saying that the city was responsible for "negligent failure to keep public roads in repair."
This case has also brought the important issue of bicycle safety to the public's attention. Cycling is generally recognized as good for public health and the environment, particularly for those Ohio residents who use a bike to commute. However, road conditions are not always conducive to safe riding, and as in this case, that can result in serious injuries.
Drivers who negligently strike cyclists are also responsible for the victim's injuries. Drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care in avoiding accidents and to keep their eyes on the road at all times. If they fail to do so, injured accident victims may be able to pursue damages in a civil law suit.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "City to pay cyclist paralyzed in crash $1.25 million," Lucas Sullivan, Oct. 22, 2012.
More information about bike injury lawsuits can be found on our Cleveland, Ohio law firm site.