A jury recently awarded our clients, Thyce and Amy Colyn, $38.25 million, after a hotel valet driver using an illegal shortcut to cross a one-way street broadsided Thyce and permanently injured him as he cycled home from work on his bike.
Before the accident, the valet’s employer, Standard Parking, had started parking downtown Seattle hotel guest vehicles offsite to increase profits. Standard knew its drivers were regularly taking this illegal shortcut to quickly return the cars, but did nothing to stop it. The company had no policies or procedures to ensure its drivers were using safe and legal routes.
Thyce suffered permanent, crippling injuries including a shattered hip, a traumatic brain injury, nerve damage, and additional trauma to his head, back, shoulder, ribs and abdomen. He will never be able to ride a bike again, and can only walk about 500 feet – with assistance. Despite their challenges, Thyce and Amy continue to fight to create positive change from their tragedy.
The Colyns are advocating for all commercial driving companies to adopt and train their employees on safety standards for sharing the roads with cyclists. They want city and state lawmakers to pass oversight regulations to make sure they do.
Thyce and Amy also encourage fellow cyclists to follow these tips to ensure their safety on the road, and to protect their legal rights if they are involved in an accident:
- Be a safe rider. Before this incident, Thyce cycled more than 200,000 miles without serious injury. How? By being a stickler for safety. Check your gear before each ride. Wear your helmet. Make yourself visible. Use head and tail lights, and a strobe during the day. Wear brightly colored clothing. If you wear a backpack or panniers, make them bright. Also, be courteous. Follow the rules of the road, always. Be that slightly annoying guy or gal who stops at every stop sign even when there are no cars around.
- Prepare to be blamed. The first reason to practice safe cycling is to get home in one piece. The second is to set yourself apart from the careless cyclist who cuts in and out of traffic and rides at night in dark clothing. If you are involved in an accident, defendants and insurance companies will hope the jury thinks you’re that idiot, and will blame you for causing the collision whether you were at fault or not. Thyce did all the right things and Standard Parking still tried to blame him all the way through trial. They failed because he wore the right gear and followed the rules.
- Don’t sign your rights away. If you’re injured by a driver, you may get a call or visit from their insurance company. Politely refuse that call and get legal advice first. Any written or recorded statement you give can be used against you in a lawsuit. The same applies to paperwork. Never sign papers from defendant’s insurance company or accept their money without consulting legal counsel first.
- If you must file suit, expect it to get personal. When you file a lawsuit, your life will feel like it’s under a microscope. Your medical records, financial records, social media, friends, family, employers, doctors and more will be examined by lawyers, experts and eventually the jury. In Thyce and Amy’s case, Standard Parking even hired investigators to secretly follow and videotape them. Be aware and prepared to feel like an open book.
- Remain strong and persistent. Defendants know that time is on their side, not yours, and will do their best to delay. Lawsuits are often long and drawn out. But don’t give in or give up. Do your best to live your life as though there were no lawsuit. Accept the help of family and friends. Follow doctors’ orders, get back to work if you can, and focus on getting better. Your case is strongest when defendants know you will go the extra mile to ensure you receive justice and hold the defendants accountable.
- Get professional help if you need it. If you are seriously injured, get a good attorney who can protect your rights as soon as possible.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
WE ARE HERE TO HELP
We are here to help if you or a family member has been seriously injured by a commercial vehicle accident, or if you have another legal issue you would like to discuss. You can reach us by phone: (206) 467-6090, or through our contact page.