Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Johns Hopkins Bicycle Accident Leads to $10 Million Lawsuit

Recently the Baltimore area bicycling community has been united by tragedy on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. A 20 year old student at Johns Hopkins was riding his bicycle down University Parkway in Baltimore City this February when he was struck by an elderly motorist. The Johns Hopkins student is not expected to recover brain function and his family believes there is no hope for any meaningful recovery. The brain damage caused by the accident appears to be permanent. The brain injury resulted from a lack of oxygen due to the fact that the young bicyclists was pinned underneath the vehicle that struck him. The accident occurred when an 83 year-old woman made a right turn into a driveway. In addition to being run over and pinned beneath the automobile, the young man also suffered third and fourth degree burns on his face and torso along with bone fractures, cuts and bruises.

The Ellicott City family of the young man is left with the strong possibility that their son will never recover any cognitive function. On March 22nd, the family sued the driver for $10 million dollars charging that she violated multiple traffic laws. One important detail that is essential to the ultimate outcome of the case is the fact that the injured bicyclist was riding in the bike lane. The family's lawyer says the lawsuit will serve to cover some of the astronomical medical expenses that insurance will not. The case has drawn a strong response from local bicycle advocates who, among other claims, consider the Baltimore Police Department's response inadequate. Their opinion that the response was inadequate is mainly due to the department's hesitation to charge the elderly woman.

The driver of the car was eventually charged with negligent driving and failure to yield the right-of-way to a bicyclist in a designated bike lane. In order for the woman to be charged with vehicular manslaughter, should the victim die, a finding of gross negligence is required. The State's Attorney said an investigation found no such evidence. The bicyclist's family was comfortable with the decision and has no desire to see the driver put in jail. Bicycle advocates were pleased that there was an investigation and traffic charges were filed.

If you or someone you know was injured in a bicycle accident contact the personal injury lawyers at Portner & Shure for a free consultation.

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