Appeals Court Affirms Award Granted to Massachusetts Bicyclist Hit By Police Cruiser

In urban environments, many modes of transportation are used to get from one place to another. Roadways are often shared by pedestrians, different sizes of vehicles, and bicycles. However, pedestrians and cyclists are the ones who have the greatest risk of a catastrophic injury if they are struck by a distracted or generally careless driver. In the event of such an accident, it is important to have experienced counsel at your side so that all options of financial and legal relief are available to you.

In Basiony v. City of Boston (15-P-98), the Appeals Court of Massachusetts reviewed a jury verdict awarding damages to a bicyclist struck by a police officer going the wrong way down a one-way street. The collision caused a physical injury to the man and property damage to the bike. The city appealed the trial court’s refusal to grant a new trial, arguing that the judge should have granted its requests for evidentiary rulings made throughout the trial.

The city objected during trial to the testimony of the patrol supervisor who was working during the officer’s shift. The supervisor conducted an investigation of the accident and wrote a report of his findings. The judge did not allow the introduction of the report itself but allowed the supervisor to provide testimony, overruling the objections of the city. The city felt this was improper, but the trial court and the Appeals Court disagreed. The court did not find any error regarding the testimony and pointed to the long history of broad discretion granted to trial judges. The court felt the supervisor was an appropriate witness to the accident, since he arrived on the scene soon after it occurred. The court also felt it was reasonable for him to testify about police department rules that dictate when police cruisers are allowed to disregard traffic signs and signals in an emergency.

The city was additionally unhappy about the persistent questions of the injured person’s counsel to the supervisor about the report, even after the trial court granted the motion to exclude the report. The Appeals Court felt the judge’s instruction immediately following the questions and before the jury deliberations cured the issue. The Appeals Court also noted that counsel for both sides engaged in “zealous advocacy and strained the limits of civility.” Both the trial court and the appellate court felt that the award was in line with the evidence and the result of a fair trial.

The Massachusetts personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of James K. Meehan have the experience you need to litigate your car accident case, regardless of whether you were injured as a cyclist, pedestrian, or motorist. If you have been injured, we are here to help you try to maximize your damages. For a free, confidential consultation, contact our office at 508-822-6600.

More Blog Posts:

Massachusetts Supreme Court Ruling Allows Injured Couple to Keep Millions in Awarded Damages, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, September 28, 2015
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Affirms Multi-million Dollar Verdict in Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Suit, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2015