Case details

Driver claimed bicyclist lost balance and fell





Result type

Not present

back, emotional distress, head, headaches, mental, neck, psychological
On March 9, 2012, at approximately 4:35 p.m., plaintiff Rhett Crockett, 25, a hospital distribution technician, was bicycling home from work in the number two westbound lane of El Cajon Boulevard, in San Diego, when he slowed for an upcoming red light at the intersection with 56th Street. He was not wearing a helmet or any reflective clothing. Crockett claimed that as he approached the intersection, he was struck by a vehicle operated by Phong Chan. Crockett sustained to his neck and back. Crockett sued Chan, alleging that Chan was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Crockett claimed thatthey were both traveling west in the number two lane, as that lane was a shared bike lane under the California vehicle code, and that Chan rear-ended the back tire on his bicycle, causing him to be thrown forward, in a diagonal direction off the bicycle. Crockett alleged that as a result, he somersaulted to the right and landed in the road. He also alleged that since his bicycle was behind him, he believed that Chan had run it over. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that Chan could not see properly because of a diabetic condition that made his peripheral vision to his right eye dark and cloudy. Counsel also contended that there were other factors contributing to Chan’s vision, such as Chan’s eyes being dilated a couple hours before the incident and Chan not wearing sunglasses (as eyes are very sensitive to light after dilation). In addition, counsel contended that the westerly sun was setting at eye level when the incident occurred. Chan contended that he was in the number two westbound lane of El Cajon Boulevard, stopped for a red light at the intersection with 56th Street, when the light turned green. He claimed that as he was about to proceed forward, he heard a bang from the back, right side of his vehicle and then saw Crockett passing on the right side of his vehicle, between his vehicle and the row of parked vehicles. Chan claimed that Crockett suddenly wobbled and lost control, causing him to fall. Thus, defense counsel argued that Crockett attempted to pass Chan’s vehicle on the right by squeezing between his vehicle and the row of parked cars to Crockett’s right. However, counsel argued that in doing so, Crockett struck Chan’s vehicle, causing Crockett to lose his balance and fall. There was no police report to corroborate either party’s version of the incident., Crockett claimed soft-tissue to his neck and back, abrasions and cuts on his right arm and right leg, and headaches. He subsequently went to a hospital later in the day, after the accident, and then presented to an emergency room the next day. He then treated with a chiropractor from March 14, 2012, through Aug. 1, 2012. Crockett claimed he still has occasional back pain and has difficulty sleeping as a result of emotional distress caused by the incident. He also claimed that he stopped riding his bicycle, primarily from the traumatic event, and that he does not feel safe riding his bicycle anymore. Defense counsel noted that although Crockett claimed he was impacted emotionally form the incident, Crockett did not treat with a counselor for his alleged emotional distress.
Superior Court of San Diego County, San Diego, CA

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