Late this past December, a jury in Seattle awarded a cyclist and his wife $38 million, 4 years after he was hit and injured by a valet driver who was cutting across traffic illegally. The bicyclist, Thyce Colyn, suffered traumatic brain injury and leg and pelvis damage requiring multiple extensive surgery over many years.
The accident occurred while Thyce was riding to work, something that he did every day. He was biking on 8th Avenue in downtown Seattle when a valet driver, who was taking a routine shortcut across two lanes of traffic, struck him. The lane he was riding in was marked with arrows alerting cars to the presence of bicycles.
The valet driver worked for a multimillion dollar company called Standard Parking Corporation which operates parking facilities and services across the United States. The impact was so strong it broke Thyce’s bike’s steel frame, and caused him catastrophic injuries.
Thyce’s wife, Amy, said that she and her husband were avid cyclists. In an interview, she told a reporter, “The tandem was kind of our child. If I were to go on a trip, it would be fine but the bike had to come.” She plans on purchasing a van that can accommodate Thyce’s new wheelchair, but she does not think their adventures will ever be the same.
At the time of the accident, the driver of the car was issued a $191 ticket. After years of litigation, Thyce and Amy have won an award higher than any other for the same kind of incident in the area. Similar claims involving severe injuries sustained in cycling accidents have been awarded $7.25 million and $3.5 million respectively.
The Colyns’ lawyer, David Beninger, argued that that the accident was caused by an ongoing failure of safety practices within the company rather than a single event. The company, working for a hotel, was using a shortcut across parking lots and alleys instead of taking a longer, safer route which involved multiple intersections. This saved time and allowed the company to retrieve the hotel patrons’ cars more quickly. The company knew about the practice but did nothing to prevent it.
Beninger said that civil cases such as these “hold folks accountable for whatever harm they cause, but they also send a broader message, that safety needs to be job one.” He added, “You can’t cut corners for your own gain at the expense of safety, which happens all too often.”
Standard Parking commented on the lawsuit by issuing a statement reading, “Safety is a top priority in our company. We have a robust safety program in place, which provides mandatory training and an abundance of resources for our employees and managers to use to promote a safe work environment. We continuously work to strengthen that program.”
Attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian will work to hold corporations accountable and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call them today at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
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