San Diego

City of San Diego Pays Out $4.85M to Cyclist After Serious Injury Crash on Uneven Pavement

The settlement is the largest settlement ever paid by the City of San Diego for a sidewalk case.

The City of San Diego has paid a cyclist $4.85 million after he suffered serious injuries while riding his bike on a sidewalk with uneven pavement, the largest settlement ever paid by the City of San Diego for such a case. 

In an accident in 2014, Clifford Brown was riding his bike on College Avenue in Del Cerro when he hit a portion of uneven pavement raised seven inches high.

He was launched more than 20 feet in the air, crashed into a sidewalk, was thrown off his bike and skidded another 10 feet further.

Brown suffered spinal injuries and head injuries. A neurologist determined that Brown had also suffered a stroke in a deep part of his brain from the impact. Days after the crash, he went into respiratory decompensation and cardiac arrest. Several teeth were also knocked out.

Through an attorney, he filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego.

The lawsuit claimed the City was responsible for the poorly maintained sidewalk in Del Cerro. The City has been made aware of the sidewalk prior to the crash and even sent a crew to inspect it, according to Brown's defense attorneys. 

Tuesday, the City of San Diego will ratify the settlement. 

In a statement through a spokesperson, the City of San Diego said: “the settlement isn’t about making someone rich, but about making sure Brown is able to pay for his medical expenses for the rest of his life."

Local cyclists say they still see dangerous cracks and uneven pavement on City streets. 

“Via Capari, the descent off of Mount Soledad has a lot of very unsafe rises in pavement, cracks,and potholes. You know there are a lot of areas like that around the city," said bicyclist Stephen Roehrs.

Roehrs, the owner of Adams Avenue Bicycles, said he has also seen more and more bicyclists riding dangerously. 

"People driving and using cell phones is a huge risk for bicyclists," he added.

A personal injury attorney not associated with this case said city officials' efforts to save money during the Great Recession are likely coming back to bite them in the wallet.

“When you slash the funding and you have more areas that are in disrepair, you're going to have more injuries," said Nathan Cowan.

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