The Business Record reported that a man was struck by a car while riding his bicycle on Grand Avenue in Des Moines; the car's driver then left the scene. [The story, as reported, is below.] Several witnesses saw his license plate. KCCI reporter Mark Tauscheck reported this story as “Cyclist in weekend hit-and-run on life support. The collision occurred on Grand Avenue near to the Jewish temple.
"Des Moines police say Gregary Wade Franck, 41, suffered serious head trauma when he was hit on his bike by driver Jonathan Leyva, 31.
“His back tire was basically unrecognizable. His bike was in two separate pieces There were parts of a car strewn about 50 yards. Multiple witnesses talking about how it had been a hit-and-run that involved a great deal of speed and force,” said witness Heather Burnside.
Franck was taking part in the Urban Assault bike ride where cyclists navigate their own route and must go to different stops to complete the course. Franck, who is a sales manager at Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny and well-known in the local cycling world, was riding with his girlfriend when he was struck from behind.”"
Iowa is big on bicycle riding and inside the city it is especially dangerous. Add a driver who is impaired (drunk) and the likelihood of a collision increases.
In my thirty-five years of handling people’s personal injury claims I have seen many different fact patterns. This one has a little of everything including a dram shop claim that may be worth several hundred thousand dollars, but only if you can identify and serve the tavern a notice within the allotted time demanded by Iowa law. With the cyclist being on life-support his chances of ever getting over what may be catastrophic injuries diminishes by the day.
The news article reports several other criminal charges and/or convictions for the driver, but those will be meaningless unless you can prove you served the proper notice on the bar and in a timely manner. Besides that requirement you will need to prove the economic value of the injured person’s future earnings. When you go to court the insurance company will demand proof of economic loss or they will ask the Court to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. And trust me when I say this, the insurance adjuster and the defense attorney will lose no sleep if they get the dismissal.
What have we seen in other cases?
The driver isn't likely to have car insurance, after all he didn't have a license and was allegedly barred from driving. The underinsured-uninsured coverage for the bike rider may be in play. Health insurance will be a factor. But the dram shop, the tavern's drunk driver insurance, may be very important to the injured guy and perhaps any dependents of his. All of this is time critical so his friends and family will likely need to act on his behalf while on life-support. If he suffered a brain or spinal cord injury someone may have to be appointed to assist with the injured person's decisions. Yes it is all very complicated, but very necessary. Attorney Steve Lombardi
So don’t hesitate to speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer in order to protect your claim. After all the insurance company you are dealing with has hundreds of lawyers on retainer all telling them how to wreck your claim.