$2.4 million for doored cyclist run over by van

Campaigners hail “a very strong message” to drivers about road safety

by Simon_MacMichael   June 19, 2014  

Gavel

A cyclist in Philadelphia who was seriously injured when she was run over by a van after a car door was opened into her path has been awarded $2.4 million in damages by a jury in a case that cycling campaigners have welcomed as sending “a very strong message” to drivers about road safety.

Student Ashley McKean’s lawsuit against the drivers of the car and the van, as well as the company that owns the latter vehicle, said that she had suffered multiple fractures of the hip, pelvis and leg as a result of the collision, and now has restricted mobility, reports Philly Magazine.

Of the $2.4 million in damages awarded to her, $1.33 million related to pain and suffering, $880,000 was for future medical expenses and $200,000 for disfigurement.

The jury found Marci Shepherd, the driver of the Honda Accord car involved in the incident, 43 per cent liable and van driver Robert Crawford and its owner, MCT Transportation, 36 per cent liable. It also found the cyclist herself to be 21 per cent liable.

In his testimony, Crawford claimed that McKean should have been riding on the pavement – although that is against the law. But her attorney, Chris Brill, said Crawford’s van had been too close to McKean when she was doored.

He told Newsworks.org: "Before the collision she was a very vibrant, very athletic young woman.

"She can walk, but she can't run. She can walk, but she can't walk far. Everything's limited now.

"As she said to the jury, she was just grateful that she survived – that she didn't die."

He added: "I'm not aware of any verdict of this magnitude for a bicycle rider who was struck by an open car door."

Stuart Clark from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia said: "I think that it does send a very strong message that bicyclists need to be taken seriously, and their safety needs to be taken seriously.

"So I hope that it gives everyone pause to follow the rules of the road and keep safe out there," he added.

9 user comments

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its not the actual person who doored her or the driver that will pay though, its the insurance company which will mean everyone elses insurance increases to foot the bill.... this should have been treated as assault and battery at the very least and the relevant charges laid against the perpetrator. And yes I realise this is yankee doodle land.

posted by McDuff73 [71 posts]
19th June 2014 - 9:50

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Unfortunately, this won't send any message to drivers about road safety. It will just increase insurance prices to cover the claim and the risk of future claims. I am not suggesting in any way that the lady should not have claimed or been awarded a significant sum but this case won't make any difference to how a large minority of the general public drive or their attitude to other road users.

Bobbinogs's picture

posted by Bobbinogs [68 posts]
19th June 2014 - 9:56

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Maybe, although even though it's a much smaller value, no-one wants to lose their NCB. Plus the magnitude of the settlement is headline grabbing so may increase awareness just through that. I can't help thinking the insurers will want to push drivers to take more care as well.

posted by choddo [18 posts]
19th June 2014 - 10:04

24 Likes

McDuff73 wrote:
its not the actual person who doored her or the driver that will pay though, its the insurance company which will mean everyone elses insurance increases to foot the bill.... this should have been treated as assault and battery at the very least and the relevant charges laid against the perpetrator. And yes I realise this is yankee doodle land.

You can't insure against intentional illegal acts. Only against collateral damage from them. If you assault someone they're not a 3rd party, they're the 2nd party.
Hence for compensation it's financially better if the cause wasn't intentional.

posted by racyrich [152 posts]
19th June 2014 - 11:23

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"this should have been treated as assault and battery at the very least and the relevant charges laid against the perpetrator."

@McDuff73 - Absolute rubbish. Where was the INTENTION to cause the cyclist injury which is what you need to commit an assault in criminal law. And in any case this was a civil action not a criminal prosecution.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [493 posts]
19th June 2014 - 11:24

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1. "The jury found…... the cyclist herself to be 21 per cent liable."

2. "In his testimony, Crawford (van driver) claimed that McKean should have been riding on the pavement – although that is against the law."

WTF to both these! So the cyclist lost 21% of her damages through no fault of her own and it is claimed she should have been riding on the pavement when it is not lawful to do so. Mad, mad, mad.

She should appeal that her damages have been reduced by 21%.

Don't ride in the door zone.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [493 posts]
19th June 2014 - 11:34

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Airzound wrote:
@McDuff73 - Absolute rubbish. Where was the INTENTION to cause the cyclist injury which is what you need to commit an assault in criminal law. And in any case this was a civil action not a criminal prosecution.

As you already pointed out what everyone already knew it was a civil action, we dont know if there was a criminal action taken against either driver, and therefor you dont know there wasnt any intent to injure just like I dont know there was....

posted by McDuff73 [71 posts]
19th June 2014 - 12:51

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In the circumstances as they stand I'd love to know how they found the cyclist 21% liable for the "accident" ?

Housecathst's picture

posted by Housecathst [96 posts]
19th June 2014 - 17:35

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"$1.33 million related to pain and suffering"

Unfortunately the UK courts take loss of earnings far more seriously than pain or suffering, she'd be lucky to get £10k in this country for the suffering aspect, I wish I was exaggerating but I'm not.

So the rich get compensated but the poor don't effectively.

posted by kie7077 [566 posts]
20th June 2014 - 10:36

3 Likes