Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Keating Law Offices Wins Victory Over CTA In Bike Crash Case

A Cook County Jury has found in favor of a Chicago bicyclist for injuries he sustained as a result of a CTA bus pulling in front of him while he was riding down the Damen Avenue bicycle lane. Attorney Michael S. Keating secured the verdict in the highly contested case after several days of trial in the Law Division in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The case stemmed from an occurrence between the bicyclist and a Chicago Transit Authority bus in November of 2010 near the intersection of Damen Avenue and Division Street.

For over five years the Chicago Transit Authority and its legal department refused to make any offers to settle the case. At one point, the CTA filed a motion asking the judge to throw out the case and claimed that the allegations by the injured bicyclist were "pure fantasy." At another point a Chicago Transit Authority attorney claimed that the case was entirely baseless and said that is was a "Zero Offer" case meaning they would never offer to settle the case. However, the jury found otherwise and held the Chicago Transit Authority and its bus operator to be primarily responsible for the crash.

The bike crash at issue occurred on the morning of November 5, 2010 when the bicyclist was riding in the bike lane down Damen headed towards Chicago's medical district. As the bicyclist passed Division Street there was a CTA bus stopped at a bus stop. As the bicyclist approached the bus, the bus pulled out from the stop. The CTA's own Standard Operating Procedures requires a bus operator to check their mirrors to make sure it is clear to pull out and to only pull out when it is safe to do so.

The CTA, however, was able to locate a witness who claimed that the bicyclist ran the red light on Division Street and was riding too fast just prior to the crash. The CTA further claimed that the crash occurred when the bicyclist attempted to pass the CTA bus on the right and crashed into a construction barrier. The CTA also attempted to claim that because there was no contact between the bus and the bicyclist that they were not to blame. In short, the CTA claimed the bicyclist was 100% to blame.

Surveillance video from the bus showed the bicyclist crashing into the construction barrier and did not show any contact on the passenger side of the bus. However, the bus did not have surveillance video on the driver side where the bicyclist was cut off by the bus. Most significantly, the responding paramedic to the scene and the CTA's own supervisor made reports right after the crash that reflected that there was contact between the bus and the bicyclist. The CTA's original reports contained a statement from the CTA's own witness that there was contact between the CTA bus and the bicyclist prior to the bicyclist losing control and crashing.

The CTA made every effort to prevent the injured bicyclist from obtaining compensation for his injuries. However, the Cook County jury was able to view all of the evidence and attempted to make a fair award for the bicyclist. According to one of the jurors, the jury used the arguments made by Attorney Keating in his closing argument as the basis to render a verdict in favor of the injured bicyclist.

Attorney Keating said the following regarding this verdict:
"One of my favorite expressions is "talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words." I always say that I will always fight for my clients to the very end. In this case the CTA took a hard line approach and forced me to try the case. We tried the case and won. I am very pleased to have obtained a verdict for my client after all these years of litigation."
Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email Mike@KeatingLegal.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.