Illinois bicycle collision attorney Gary Annes recently reached a $152,000 settlement at a mediation for a bicycle rider. This claim arises out of an incident which occurred on August 18, 2008 and could be considered both a Chicago premises liability case as well as a bicycle accident claim.
On the morning of the occurrence our client was riding her bicycle to work. The weather was sunny and dry. She was riding her bicycle southbound in Desplaines St. in the City of Chicago.
There was a construction site located at 370 N. Desplaines St. The main defendant in the case was the general contractor on the construction project. As the bicyclist was riding southbound on Desplaines the construction site was on the rider's right side. When she was about halfway past the construction site, green mesh fabric attached to the construction fence blew out into the road and directly into the rider. The netting caught onto the handlebars and/or brake for the bicycle and yanked it back out from under her. This resulted in the plaintiff being thrown forward off of her bicycle onto the pavement. She landed on her left arm, breaking her left wrist.
The City of Chicago Municipal Code requires that a general contractor on a construction site must affix fabric mesh to the construction site fence face. §13-32-125(c). The Code further requires that the general contractor immediately repair any damage to the fence fabric. §13-32-125(e).
A photograph taken shortly after the accident showed how the fence fabric had become ripped and unattached to the fence, flipped on the outside of the fence and loose at the bottom, able to blow up and out into the street with any breeze.
The defendant failed to properly affix, repair and maintain the fence fabric. As a result the fence fabric became unattached on the bottom of the fence, flipped over to the outside of the fence and was able to flap out into the roadway with any breeze.
Following the incident the bike rider had an immediate onset of excruciating left wrist pain. She was transferred from the scene of the occurrence by ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department. Upon her arrival at the emergency department she complained of left wrist pain, left elbow pain, left ankle pain and left shoulder pain.
The plaintiff was examined and diagnostic tests were performed. X-rays and a CT of her wrist revealed a displaced intra-articular distal radius fracture with gapping at the lunate facet, a minimally displaced ulnar styloid fracture and a scaphoid waist fracture. An open reduction, internal fixation surgery was recommended. Initially, her left wrist, forearm and elbow were placed in a plaster cast for immobilization and she was prescribed pain medications until surgery could be performed.
Surgery was performed on August 22, 2008. The surgical procedures performed included an open repair of the left distal radial fracture with internal fixation of 2 fragments, open repair of the scaphoid fracture with internal fixation and tenotomy brachioradialis tendon of the left wrist. As part of the procedure, surgical metal was implanted into her wrist including a metal plate and five screws. Following the surgery her arm was put in a sling and she was given another prescription for pain medications.
After the surgery our client sought follow up treatment with her surgeon. She saw the doctor several times over the next few months. He ordered that a forearm-based thumb spica splint be made which the client wore. Additionally a course of physical therapy was prescribed. The client's father was a physical therapist and he provided her with therapy.
At the time of her last appointment with her surgeon, she continued to complain of left wrist stiffness, residual discomfort with point contact around the fractures.
Despite her treatment, our client continued to experience pain and discomfort in her left wrist. This was especially prevalent with changes in the weather or when pressure or weight was applied to the wrist. Additionally, due to the severity and location of the fractures, she is at an increased risk of developing traumatic arthritis in her left wrist.
For months after the accident the bicyclist could not do any activity that required the use of her left hand. Even after her cast was removed and she was able to begin to use her left hand and wrist, she continued to experience pain with almost all activities of daily living. For approximately three months she was unable to ride her bicycle.
Medical expenses incurred by our client for treatment of the injuries she suffered as a result of the negligence of the defendant totaled over $30,000. She also sustained a permanent surgical scar on her left wrist.