Bicycle Wrongful Death Case Study
A 53-year-old woman was riding her bicycle in a bike lane in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As she entered an intersection, a semi truck driver turned right. The rear wheels of the semi trailer ran over the bicyclist. She died at the scene, leaving behind a husband and 2 children.
The police report stated that the bicyclist was at fault. Her husband hired Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman, lead lawyers at our law firm to represent the family in the bicycle accident wrongful death case. They represent victims and families in personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Minnesota and nationally.
Fred and Eric Prove the Truck Driver was at Fault
Fred and Eric knew this was going to be a challenging case, and it was. They and our team spent months combing through corporate documents and interviewing witnesses. They hired top accident reconstruction specialists and an animation expert to help them build a winning case.
Below is some of the top evidence that helped Fred and Eric won a multimillion-dollar jury verdict for the family of the bicyclist:
- Logbooks. After obtaining the truck driver’s logbooks, they were able to determine that there were numerous falsifications, which should have caused the driver to be out of service at the time of the accident.
- Deposition. Moreover, the deposition revealed that the truck driver had failed to monitor his right outside mirrors during his turn. This failure was compounded by the truck driver’s admission that he believed he was pulling a 48-foot trailer, as opposed to a 53-foot trailer.
- Accident Reconstruction. Fred and Eric hired accident reconstruction specialists. Fred, Eric and the accident reconstruction team used evidence they had gathered at the scene, eyewitness accounts, the police report, and other evidence to reconstruct the accident. Fred and Eric then hired an animationist to do an animation of the accident.
When a semi trailer hits and kills a cyclist, the family may have a wrongful death claim if there is evidence of negligence on the part of the driver, the owner of the semi, the owner of the trailer, or the owner of the freight.
Evidence of negligence can include one of the following regarding the truck driver:
- The driver was breaking a traffic law—speeding, failure to give the right of way, illegally turning, etc.
- He was drunk or under the influence of drugs. Driving while under the influence of certain legal drugs can be negligent. If the driver was drinking at a bar, restaurant, etc. before the accident, the family may have a dram shop claim.
- He had been driving more hours in a 24-hour period than allowed by federal regulation (see the hours-of-service regulations).
- He was distracted—talking on a cell phone, eating, looking for something, daydreaming, etc.
- He was not adequately trained, had a poor driving record, etc.
We also look for evidence that the trucking company did not maintain the tractor or trailer in a safe condition, ignored recalls, or encouraged violation of regulations.
Wrongful Death Claim
When a family loses a mother, father, son or daughter, there is a need to find answers and hold all responsible parties accountable. We look for evidence against the truck driver, its owner, the owner of the trailer, the owner of the freight, a business that did maintenance work on the truck, a manufacturer of a defective part, and/or a company that loaded the freight. The corporate relationships can be complex.
In all of our bicycle accident death cases, we take the time to get to know who the person who died was–what that person meant to the family (both financially and emotionally), what the person’s job was and what future prospects the person may have had, and what the person’s hobbies and other community activities were. We try to get the best and clearest picture possible of the person’s life because we have to persuasively present evidence as to the value of that life. The process is difficult for the family, but we understand and try to make it part of the healing process and not an additional burden.
You can call 612-338-0202 to contact our lawyers for your free consultation.