Car Cuts off Bicycle
Crash Herniates Bicyclist’s Spinal Disc
We represented an active college student who was hit by a car in broad daylight and whose life was significantly affected by the injuries she sustained. A driver was driving her car southbound on Agate. She drove past the college student who was riding her bike in the same direction along the edge of the street. After passing the bicyclist, the driver turned sharply right, without signaling, into a parking lot for Hayward Field. The driver cut directly into the bicyclist’s lane of travel, crashing into her.
Thankfully, a witness in a nearby office heard the bicyclist scream, looked out the window, saw her on the ground, and saw the driver approach the bicyclist to apologize. The driver had violated multiple vehicle laws, including Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 811.335(1)(b) (signal before turning), ORS 811.335(1)(a) (no turning unless turn can be safely made), and ORS 811.050/811.055 (failing to yield the right of way to a bicyclist).
The collision herniated a disk in the bicyclist’s lower spine which caused compression on spinal nerves which caused pain in the back, buttocks, and leg. Those injuries made it difficult for her to sit or stand for long periods of time and attend to her studies, and even more difficult for her to maintain her physical lifestyle. Before the collision, the bicyclist had:
- Ridden her bicycle almost every day to commute to school and work and to take long distance bicycle rides, logging over a hundred miles a week.
- Skied 10-15 times a year.
- Gone on regular hiking and backpacking trips. In one summer, she hiked 150 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.
- Worked as an instructor for Wilderness First Responder courses, and was a member of a wilderness search and rescue team.
- Been an avid rock climber, working at the University of Oregon setting routes on the campus climbing wall.
- Been an assistant instructor for the Integrated Outdoor Program (IOP) for South Eugene High School, where she helped lead high school students in outdoor activities including hiking, snow camping, search and rescue training, and rock climbing.
- Traveled extensively to do service and mission work in other countries.
After the collision and with her subsequent medical treatment, the student was hopeful that she would be able to return to her pre-collision activities. She worked hard to get the best recovery she could. In negotiating with the insurance company for the at-fault driver, it was important for the insurance company to understand what not being able to enjoy the outdoors, go biking, do search and rescue work, and go rock climbing meant to her. After providing extensive documentation of the student’s change of lifestyle, we were able to resolve the case for a fair result.
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