02

Blog

Taxi Driver Flees Crash With Chicago Bicyclist, Later Pays

A taxi driver who fled the scene after striking a Chicago bicyclist from behind in Wicker Park could not escape accountability.  The driver, Tilek Tulemyshev, and the cab company, Best Cab Corp, have paid $300,000 to the injured biker, a 33 year old airline attendant, following a lawsuit filed against them by FK Law.

On September 10, 2011 the female cyclist was riding northbound on North Damen Avenue with her husband and a friend.  When the three reached Damen’s intersection with West Webster Avenue they stopped for a red light.  At the same time, Mr. Tulemyshev was stopped along the curb to their right picking up a fare.  When the light turned green the bicyclists began pedaling across the intersection. The taxi also accelerated forward.  Upon reaching the middle of the intersection, Mr. Tulemyshev crashed into the rear of the woman’s bike throwing her into the street where he then ran her down. The woman’s husband screamed for him to stop.  He did for a moment.  He then threw the taxi into reverse and stomped on the accelerator driving the taxi backwards back into the intersection where he rammed another vehicle.  With the terrified fare still in the cab, Mr. Tulemyshev then put the car in drive and sped east on Webster.  A block or two later he abruptly stopped, let his passenger escape then drove off.

The bicyclist was left with scrapes and bruises over much of her body.  More significantly, she suffered torn cartilage in her left knee requiring surgery.  Her injuries left her unable to work for a significant period of time.  She incurred over $60,000 in medical bills.

Despite undeniable negligence by the driver, he and his attorneys initially refused to compensate our client for the harm he caused.  Instead they asserted that her knee injury was the result of a skiing accident years before the crash.  That earlier incident caused tears to her left anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus.  However, for years before the 2011 crash she was symptom free and lived a healthy, active life.  She regularly ran and rode her bicycle without pain.  That changed after being hit by the taxi.  Our challenge was to succinctly demonstrate that the crash was the cause of her ongoing knee problem.  It was complicated.  The first orthopaedic specialist that evaluated her felt that the crash had only resulted in a sprain to the knee.  However, another specialist examined film of her knee and determined that while ACL and meniscus tears preexisted the crash, that at least the injury to her meniscus was exacerbated by the collision and was a very significant factor in her knee problems since.

The evidence regarding her knee injury was solid, but the defense seemed to view it as nuanced. They continued to refused to offer what we and our client felt was reasonable compensation.  Then, two things happened which seemed to tighten the screws.  First, Mr. Tulemyshev, at first cooperative during litigation, disappeared.  Neither his attorneys nor we could locate him.  He never did submit himself for a deposition in the case.  Secondly, we filed and won the right to add a count to the lawsuit seeking punitive damages.  The vast majority of personal injury lawsuits filed in Illinois seek only compensatory damages, that is, money to compensate the victim for the harm caused.  Punitive damages are rarely provided for and are meant to punish a wrongdoer.  The approval of a judge is necessary even to allow a jury to consider providing for punitive damages.  Once we argued for and receive that approval in this case, the defense finally saw the light and did the right thing.

Comments

Biking After COVID 5
Ann Groninger May 28, 2020

What will biking after COVID be like? Before COVID, it seemed like there was a handful of people in my city who rode bikes to get places, and we all knew each other. We’ve always had a robust recreational road riding community of people who gather after work and on weekends to head out to […]

Read More
Bike Advocate
Bruce Hagen May 26, 2020

If you’ve ridden a bike anywhere in Atlanta, chances are you’ve met Atlanta bike advocate Angel Poventud.  If you’ve stopped for a post-ride beer, been to an important advocacy event, or to any major Atlanta gathering, chances are you have met Angel Poventud.   It may only seem that Angel is everywhere, but when you […]

Read More
Bicycle accident lawyer group riding in COVID
Kurt Holzer May 15, 2020

Idaho’s Governor Little has issued the State’s planned staged transition away from his Stay-at-Home health order.  Road cyclists continue to wonder how we should engage in group riding under COVID. As a bicycle accident lawyer who deals with the negative aspects of cycling, I have been thinking a lot about when and how to ride safely […]

Read More
Felix Mayer Cyclist killed by car. NO VRU law
Bruce Hagen Apr 30, 2020

On May 1, 2020, the City of Dunwoody’s new Vulnerable Road User (“VRU”) ordinance will take effect, the first such law to be enacted anywhere in the State of Georgia.  Hopefully neighboring municipalities like Sandy Springs, Roswell and Chamblee will follow suit, and more importantly, the State of Georgia.   VRU laws recognize and prioritize […]

Read More
Minnesota Cycling
Daniel Brazil Apr 23, 2020

On March 6, Minneapolis released a 252-page Transportation Action Plan. The plan’s ultimate goal is to expand transportation options for those walking, biking and taking public transit to get where they need to go.  Through this expansion, Minneapolis hopes to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, lowering greenhouse gas emissions. One of the […]

Read More
Bike to Work Corona
Daniel Brazil Apr 14, 2020

Not long ago, I published a post highlighting the great efforts being made by the co-chairs of the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition. One of the co-chairs, Andy Singer, has garnered attention not just for his work for the Coalition but for his policy-based cartoons.  I asked Andy if he’d oblige to another interview to highlight […]

Read More
Load More