Injured Cyclist Awarded $9.1 Million for Brain Injury

Bicycling in L.A. has become more mainstream, with the city promoting itself as bike-friendly. However, biking in Los Angeles can quickly turn into a nightmare. While cyclists face an ever-present danger in the way of motorists who are oftentimes reckless and put cyclists at risk, the landscape itself can be a source of danger for the bike rider. Such was the case in 2014 when cyclists Robert Watts received devastating brain injuries during his ride on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Significant Brain Damage

Watts, a Topanga Canyon resident and experienced cyclist who commuted to Culver City via bike for years, suffered brain damage after following signs erected by the city instructing riders to ride on the highway’s shoulder between travel lanes and a cliff on Pacific Palisades’ Pacific Coast Highway. Watts steered to avoid rocks and sand debris on the pavement, losing control of his bicycle, and crashing into the travel lane. Significant brain damage resulted. The jury in this case found both the city, which was supposed to perform maintenance on the highway, and Caltrans, which officially owns the highway, both partially liable for Watts’ injuries when it handed down its $9.1 million awards.

Devastating Injuries

Watts case is not uncommon. A 62-year-old man traveling along Reseda Boulevard in Porter Ranch crashed after striking broken pavement pushed up by the root of a tree. The city had received a number of repeated complaints about that particular bike lane, but repairs went unmade. The cyclist in this case sustained a broken neck and was left a quadriplegic. And the problem is fairly widespread. A pothole in Sherman Oaks left an additional cyclist with a brain injury, and a cyclist in Eagle rock flipped over his handlebars and was injured after riding over uneven pavement.

Danger for Cyclists

The L.A. times analyzed the city’s 4,821 miles of bike routes and bike lanes, and the results were astounding. Around 19 percent of the lanes, amounting to around 179 miles, for cyclists were located on streets that were grade with D or F with the average street grade being a C+. This makes cycling in parts of the city a dangerous endeavor.

Bicyclists and Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys

Cyclists who are injured often have the basis for a personal injury claim. When cycling on roads that the city must maintain, especially those marked as official bike routes, cyclists have the expectation of safety. When hazardous road conditions result in cyclists becoming injured, they have a right to seek compensation for those injuries from the responsible party.
If you are a cyclist injured in a crash due to roadway conditions, gather as much evidence as possible, seek medical attention promptly, and then discuss your case with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney. Compass Law Group has seasoned attorneys ready to review your case and help you get the ball rolling in getting the compensation that you are entitled to under the law. Set up your free consultation now.


Find out if you have a case in a few minutes, call us at (310) 289-7126

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