Facial Injuries Case Against University in Cambridge

We represented a young woman who suffered facial injuries and a broken tooth because of a bicycle accident in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Our client, a volunteer research associate at a well-established Cambridge university was on her way to her volunteer position.  It was springtime and she decided to bike.  She navigated the streets, cars, sidewalks, and busy pedestrian campus without issue.  However, as she approached the bike rack designated for her building, and as the sun was just behind the building so the pavement was in a shadow, the front tire of her bike became lodged into a recessed loading dock lift panel that she did not see.  There was a 2-inch gap between the loading dock fitting and the sidewalk, just 20 feet from the bike rack.  Of note, there was no warning, no barrier, and no way for our client to avoid riding right into the hole.

The front tire stuck in the gap between the loading dock panel and the sidewalk propelling Ms. “Yates” forward, over her handlebars, and landed on her face.  The emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene and took Ms. Yates to the hospital where her facial lacerations were stitched up.  X rays showed a fracture of her nose and fracture of one tooth.

Of note, immediately after the accident the Cambridge institution erected a wooden barrier around the recessed lift panel so that no one could walk, or bike, over it and get injured.

Bike Accident Causes Fractured Tooth, Permanent Injuries

While the nose fracture and facial lacerations healed, Ms. Yates needed multiple dental treatments, ultimately resulting in losing one tooth, necessitating a bridge between the associated teeth, and significant dental work to bring the teeth back to as close to normal as could be.

Lawsuit Necessary to Resolve Bike Accident Claim

Unfortunately, instead of the insurance adjusters for this major institution looking at their own incident report and the photos we sent them, they blamed the victim.  They also tried to get us to file a worker’s compensation claim, however, as they knew, our client was not an employee so there was no such claim.  We saw that the approach would not go anywhere with the insurance adjusters, so we filed a lawsuit in Superior Court.  Notwithstanding the costs and risks of a lawsuit, sometimes it is the only way to get the defendants and their insurance companies to see the whole story – the big picture.  It exposes them to risk.

The lawsuit progressed and discovery was undertaken.  We worked with a dentist, who is a professor at Tufts Dental School.  We retained her as an expert, to examine Ms. Yates and write a report.  The report indicated that the extensive dental work was reasonable and necessary, that Ms. Yates’ injuries were permanent, and that there was significant pain and suffering because of the extent of the extensive dental reconstruction work.

As a result of our aggressive litigation, the case resolved to our client’s satisfaction.  Other important factors in resolving this case were that Ms. Yates took excellent photographs of the locus where the incident took place, and that the expert witness was willing to testify about the extent of the damages to Ms. Yates.

Burns and Jain Bike Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a bike accident, as a result of a motor vehicle driver’s negligence, another biker’s negligence, or the negligence of a landowner like in Ms. Yates’ case, call Burns and Jain for a free consultation.