A San Diego cyclist who was paralyzed below the chest when hit by a driver who lost his way will receive a payment of almost $ 24 million from the city.
Juan Carlos Vinolo’s lawsuit argued that the city was partially responsible for the 2014 disaster on Fiesta Island, and a civil jury assigned it 27% of the responsibility, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Vinolo’s suit said the overgrown bushes and high ledges on the one-way ring road obstructed vision and contributed to a disaster that left him on a blind curve with a woman on methamphetamine. She was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Court documents say Vinolo, then 43, suffered a spinal torn and lost a kidney, and he is likely to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Nine of his fellow cyclists suffered minor injuries.
During the 2019 civil lawsuit, city prosecutors said that officials could not be expected to prevent such an accident. They also argued that by riding at training speeds in close formation with other cyclists on a public road, Vinolo was knowingly engaging in “dangerous recreational activities.”
Fiesta Island Road is a 4-mile single-lane loop around the island in Mission Bay. It attracts a lot of cycling and signs indicate that cyclists are allowed to use the entire lane.
The $ 23.75 million payment, approved by the city council, was one of the largest in the city’s history, the Union-Tribune reported. All but about $ 3 million will come from an account funded by a partnership of local government agencies sharing the risk of responsibility.
In recent years, San Diego has received an average of about $ 25 million in lawsuits annually. Among others this year:
- $ 16 million for a motorcycle rider who sustained “catastrophic injuries” when she was hit by a police car in 2019.
- $ 9.7 million was donated to the families of two men who died in 2018 when a city police officer on duty crashed into their disabled vehicle on the freeway.
- $ 1.75 million to a cyclist who suffered a concussion and broke his leg in an accident caused by a protruding piece of sidewalk.