Friday, October 30, 2009

LA Doctor on Trial for Allegedly Causing Bicyclists to Crash

An LA Doctor is on trial for allegedly slamming on his brakes in front of two bicyclists in Brentwood. What is interesting about this is the doctor is reported to have a history of menacing cyclists and acting as something of a vigilante. The doctor allegedly "patrolled" this neighborhood for bicyclists and he would photograph bicyclists that he thought were riding inappropriately.

This Los Angeles Time article details the criminal trial taking place. The bicyclists could also pursue a civil action against the doctor for the injuries they sustained. If a similar incident were to happen in Illinois, the bicyclists could also pursue punitive damages from the doctor. Punitive damages are those beyond typical damages sought in a personal injury case such as medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of a normal life, disability and disfigurement. Punitive damages are "punishment" for the actions of a defendant.

Section 2-604.1 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure provides that a plaintiff may request the judge, through a pre-trial motion, to allow them to seek punitive damages if there are "facts sufficient to support an award of punitive damages." The kind of facts the court looks for are those of reprehensible conduct above and beyond typical negligence when someone may have just made a mistake.

If the allegations against the doctor are true, then this is the kind of case where it rises beyond typical negligence. This wouldn't be an "accident" by any definition, this is an attack and it should be treated as one.

If you have any questions regarding this post, or have been involved in an accident, please contact Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or