One of the Largest Jury Verdicts in Colorado History Awarded to Denver Bicyclist Paralyzed in a Car CrashAugust 2, 2019
According to an article in the Denver Post a bicyclist who ended up paralyzed from the waist down after two cars struck him, was awarded $52.5 million dollars—one of the largest personal injury verdicts in the state of Colorado. Bicyclist Gary Suydam had just gone through Wadsworth Blvd., on a green light. Chelsea Brewer, a woman working for Labor Finders (LF1 Fort Pierce), turned left from the opposite direction, striking Suydam, knocking him off his bicycle. A second driver then ran over Suydam’s head, dragging him with one of his tires.
The second driver, Stephen Tecmire initially stopped, then left the scene, later stating he was unaware an accident occurred. Tecmire was not named in the claim, rather it was against LF1 Fort Pierce and Chelsea Brewer. The jury deliberated only three hours, awarding Suydam $15.7 million for medical expenses and $32.8 million in physical impairment damages. Tecmire, the second driver, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident and assigned 10 percent of the responsibility for Suydam’s injuries, although he is not responsible for payment.
It is expected that LF1 Fort Pierce will appeal the award. Suydam, a former rock musician and computer programmer has been unable to move his lower body or hands since the crash occurred. The question of whether Brewer was working for Labor Finders at the time of the collision was at the heart of the case—in other words, whether she was in the course and scope of her employment with Labor Finders. Suydam’s attorneys argued that Brewer was transporting company supplies, company financial documents and two co-workers to the company’s Lakewood office and that Labor Finders was negligent in their duty to train Brewer to drive.
Aggressive Drivers See Cyclists as Less Than Human
An article in usastreetsblog.org found that a “shocking” number of people view cyclists as less than human. Those dehumanizing attitudes are directly connected with bicyclists being targeted by aggressive drivers. The article reports that Australian researchers asked study participants about their overall attitudes toward bicyclists. A staggering 31 percent—almost a third—rated bicyclists as “less than human.” Dehumanization is associated with aggression and antisocial behavior toward many different groups, apparently removing normal inhibitions about doing harm to others.
Dehumanization studies have historically measured negative attitudes toward racial minorities, women and other marginalized groups, however the study reported in usastreetsblog.org was the first to be applied to bicyclists. To put the study into perspective the “dehumanization” rating was lower for bicyclists than for Americans who rated Europeans, East Asians, Mexican immigrants, Japanese and Australians.
The dehumanization rating was higher for bicyclists than for Americans rating Arabs and Muslims. Unfortunately, aggressive behavior toward cyclists is fairly widespread, with a significant number of bicyclists saying they have experienced some level of harassment from drivers. When a person does not view another person as “fully human,” it can be easier to justify aggression and hatred toward them.
Helping Clients Who Have Suffered Bicycle Car Crash Injuries
Clients who have been injured while riding a bicycle as the result of the negligence of another driver, could find themselves with serious, even catastrophic injuries and resulting medical expenses they are unable to pay. Injuries from bicycle accidents can be so serious they leave the victim unable to work for weeks, months, or perhaps even for a lifetime. USClaims can help your clients pay both their medical expenses and their regular, day-to-day expenses related to a bicycle car crash / accident in anticipation of a court judgment or settlement. Call 1-877-USCLAIMS today for the information you and your clients need.