$1,035,000 :: Geibel

SETTLEMENT : Bicycle accident caused by roadway construction

On January 2, 1988, James Geibel, 31, was riding his bike to the market on Maple Avenue near Plaza del Amo when he ran over two water-valve covers that struck almost two inches above the asphalt. The incident damaged his bike frame and it gave way, causing Geibel to crash. He sustained serious injuries in the accident which required four months of hospitalization and lifelong medical treatment for permanent physical ailments. He was unable to return to his auditing job for a year, and only then able to work part-time at the local branch of the General Accounting Office.

He continues to walk with a stiff gait and lost normal use of his hands. Additionally, a pump, which requires replacement every four years, has been installed in his stomach in order to feed necessary medicine to his spinal column.

After investigation, our attorneys determined that the majority of the blame for the accident lied with the maker of the three-speed bike Geibel was riding at the time. However, that bike was 15-years-old and its maker, the Australian company Junior Werke, had long been out of business. Therefore, the Plaintiffs team turned to look at the other contributing causes of the accident and considered the two water-valve covers that caused the bike to malfunction.

The Plaintiffs determined that home developer Watt Homes had agreed to perform road work on the roadway as it lay near a massive housing development they were building. However, the building company allegedly never ensured that the roadway was even. Additionally, two subcontractors and the city never followed up with this roadway’s repair.

The Plaintiff’s thus filed a lawsuit against Watt Homes, the two subcontractors, and the city. All four parties agreed to settle in order to avoid a potentially large civic judgment in the Torrance civil court system. The settlement totaled $1,035,000 with Watt Homes agreeing to pay $500,000, the city of Torrance agreeing to pay $350,000, and the two subcontractors agreeing to pay a collective $185,000.

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