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In January 2016, Sacramento & Elk Grove-based John M. O'Brien & Associates settled a case for the parents of a deceased 22-year-old exchange student from China. On April 10, 2014, the student was riding his bicycle on the way to class at San Marcos College in Southern California when he came to a stop at a busy intersection. When the crosswalk light turned green for him to proceed, he started across the intersection. At the same time, a cement truck immediately to his left was preparing to a make a right hand turn across the crosswalk. The driver of the cement truck was looking to his left to clear traffic before initiating the right-hand turn against a red light. In that same moment, the light turned green, and our client started across. The cement truck driver either never looked to his right or simply could not see our client in his blind spot as he started his turn. The truck struck and killed our client about 6 feet from the curb.
The responding investigators from the local sheriffs’ department concluded that the accident was our client’s fault despite multiple eyewitness testimony to the contrary. In what was clearly a biased conclusion based on favoring a local business over a foreign student, the officers concluded that our client was not paying attention when he crossed “in front of the truck” and was wearing ear buds and riding his bike in a crosswalk in violation of local ordinances. After entering the case, we established that the truck driver initiated his right-hand turn without looking to see if the crosswalk was clear and that the student cyclist was not at fault in causing the accident. The case resolved for the defendant’s insurance policy limit of $2 million.