Case details

Motorcyclist suddenly made left turn to strike bicyclist





Result type

Not present

fracture, hip
On July 11, 2011, at approximately 4:50 p.m., claimant Max Schellentrager, 23, a waiter, was riding his bicycle downhill on Broadway Avenue, just east of the intersection with Ocean Street in Santa Cruz. However, he was riding west in the eastbound bike lane on Broadway Avenue. At the same time, a black Harley Davidson motorcycle operated by Kevin Davis, who was traveling on westbound Broadway Avenue, passed a line of stopped cars due to traffic, and attempted to make a left turn into the driveway of the Pacific Motel, located approximately 75 feet east of the intersection with Ocean Street. As a result, Davis struck Schellentrager on the right side, causing Schellentrager to be thrown from his bicycle. Schellentrager initially brought a claim against Davis, but it was learned that he was uninsured. As a result, Schellentrager sought recovery via the supplementary-uninsured-motorist provision of his own insurance policy, which was administered by Geico Casualty Co., and of his father’s insurance policy, which was administered by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. Schellentrager claimed that Davis suddenly accelerated and turned left into his bike. A state park ranger, who was waiting along with other motorists on westbound Broadway Avenue, stated that Davis passed the line of cars and suddenly turned left into the motel parking lot without ever looking to his left. In addition, the state park ranger stated, “The motorcyclist never applied his brakes prior to broad-siding the bicyclist.” Davis claimed he initially intended to get into the left turn lane and wait for the light to change before turning onto Ocean Street, but that as he approached the intersection, “[his] intentions changed to turning into the driveway of the Pacific Motel.” The insurance companies denied Schellentrager’s claims, and alleged that he was solely responsible for the accident by riding his bicycle against the flow of traffic, going the wrong way in the eastbound bike lane, in violation of the Vehicle Code. Thus, the carriers claimed that Davis had no reason to suspect that Schellentrager would be where he was when Davis made a legal left turn into the parking lot. In addition, the carriers alleged that Schellentrager could have avoided the collision had he been paying attention., Schellentrager was taken by ambulance to Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. He suffered an intertrochanteric fracture of the right hip, with a butterfly fragment involving the lesser trochanter and medial wall of the proximal femur, approximately 6 to 7 centimeters in length. Schellentrager subsequently underwent an intramedullary rod fixation the day after the accident, with a hybrid nail going down the full length of his femur, and a screw or blade plate extending up into his femoral head and neck. Schellentrager claimed he missed time from his job as a waiter during his recovery from surgery. However, he admitted that the surgery was was successful, but claimed that he may require another surgery to remove the rod from his femur, as well as a total hip replacement, due to arthritic changes caused by the fracture. Thus, Schellentrager claimed medical expenses of $16,415.32, which was paid by insurance, and lost wages of $24,000 to $28,000.
Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA

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