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Los Angeles Settles Cyclist’s Pothole Injury Lawsuit for $6.5M

Peter Godefroy was riding his bicycle on Valley Vista Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, California two years ago when struck a pothole, crashed his bike, and suffered "severe traumatic brain injury and numerous broken or fractured bones throughout his body." Godefroy sued the City of Los Angeles, claiming poor lighting and even worse maintenance led to a simple pothole becoming a "concealed trap for bicyclists." The L.A. City Council settled that lawsuit last week, voting 11-0 to approve granting Godefroy $6.5 million in damages. It's the second such settlement this year, after the council also awarded $4.5 million to the family of a man killed after he was thrown from his bike when he hit uneven pavement in the city. Bike Suits Bicycle accidents are sadly more common than you would hope. And if you don't have cycling insurance (yes, those policies do exist), you may be wondering about your legal options. In a crash scenario, hopefully the other party -- whether it be a driver in their car, a business-owned vehicle, another cyclist, or even a pedestrian -- will be insured and that will cover your injuries. If not, you may have to file a lawsuit in order to recoup medical bills and lost wages. Most cycling accidents can be treated just like car accidents: exchange insurance information with the other party or parties, document the accident and any injuries as thoroughly as possible, and consider contacting the police if there are serious injuries or property damage. And the work doesn't stop the day after an accident -- make sure to track initial ambulance or hospital bills, additional or ongoing medical expenses, and lost work or wages as well as future income. City Liability It may sound daunting, but you can sue city hall. You may have to file a claim of injury with the city before filing a civil lawsuit to give the city a chance to compensate you or respond to the claim, and you'll have to do so within specific statutes of limitation. If the city fails to respond or denies your claim, you can move on to a full-blown lawsuit. As a general rule, municipalities are responsible for maintaining roadways (including bike lanes and sidewalks) so that they're safe for cyclists, and can be held liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions on public roadways. If a city or municipal entity fails to exercise reasonable care in keeping the roadways in good repair, they can be found liable for injuries that occur. However, in order to prove a city was negligent in repairing the road, you would also need to prove the city had or should have had notice of the dangerous condition and failed to fix it. If you're considering a bike injury lawsuit against a city, talk to an experienced attorney first. Related Resources: Find Personal Injury Lawyers in Your Area (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) Severely Injured Cyclist Settles Broken Sidewalk 'Launch Ramp' Case for $4.84M (FindLaw's Injured) San Diego Cyclist Injured by Pothole Gets $235K Settlement From City (FindLaw's Injured) NYPD Accused of 'Hit and Lie' on Cyclist (FindLaw's Injured)
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S.D. Comic-Con’s Moving Because of Court Ruling?

A decision by the San Diego City Council not to appeal a ruling by the Fourth District Court of Appeals may spell the end of that city's annual hosting of what has become a comic book culture institution: San Diego Comic-Con. The appeals court decision earlier this month struck down the proposed levying of a special tax on hotel rooms around the San Diego Convention Center, where the yearly event is held, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The city had planned to use the money to expand for a $520 million expansion of the convention center. Why does this news mean we may be seeing the Los Angeles Comic-Con after the convention's contract with San Diego runs out in 2016? Expansion Was Key to Extending Comic-Con Contract The annual, five-day Comic-Con is estimated to bring $180 million dollars a year to San Diego, reports the San Diego Union Tribune. So when other cities began tempting the convention with their larger convention centers San Diego officials convinced Comic-Con to stay put, in large part by agreeing to an expansion of the city's aging convention center. However, in order to finance the expansion, city officials enacted a somewhat controversial plan. According to the Los Angeles Times, the plan allowed hotel owners to increase taxes on hotel rooms around the convention center without putting it to a vote by the city's voters. Special Tax Found Invalid The Fourth Appellate District Court ruled that this tax plan violated the California Constitution, which requires that no special tax will be imposed unless it is submitted to the electorate and approved by a two-thirds vote. In deciding not to appeal the ruling, the City Council now must now find another way to come up with the money needed to expand the convention center to accommodate the Comic-Con's growing footprint. In the meantime, the Comic-Con may be once again entertaining offers from other cities. Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer). Related Resources: San Diego Ruling Means Comic-Con Could Leave After 2016 (IGN) SLCC Punk: San Diego Tries to Muscle Rights to 'Comic Con' (FindLaw's Free Enterprise) 'Twilight' Fan Killed by Car at Comic-Con (FindLaw's Injured) San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Set to Resign: Report (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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