An injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck on Interstate 100 in Southwest Virginia has been settled for approximately $21 million during mediation.
On October 8th 2011, Michael Sprick (44) – a cross-country cyclist from Germany – was part way through his dream cycling holiday. Having arrived in Chicago a month earlier, Michael was on his way to Miami, from where he planned to fly home to Germany.
However, as he cycled along the shoulder of Interstate 100 in Pulaski County, Southwest Virginia, he was hit by a freightliner truck traveling at 55mph. Michael was thrown from his cycle and landed about 100 feet away from the point of impact.
Michael suffered severe injuries in the accident and went into cardiac arrest before he could be airlifted to hospital. As a result he suffered anoxic brain damage, and he remained in hospital for three months on a ventilator before being flown home on a medically equipped plane.
While Michael was receiving further treatment in Germany, his family made an injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck on his behalf. The driver of the truck – Norman Merchant – initially denied liability for Michael´s injuries and said that he was forced to maneuver onto the shoulder by an oncoming vehicle.
Witnesses to the accident disagreed with Merchant´s version of events and, in December 2011, was convicted of reckless driving, fined and given a suspended sentence. With liability confirmed, the injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck proceeded against Merchant´s employers – Hostess Brands Inc.
However, there was to be another twist in the injury claim for a cyclist hit by a truck when Hostess Brands Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Michael´s lawyers successfully moved to have the stay lifted, and refiled the claim in Virginia´s federal district court.
After an accurate assessment of Michael´s future needs was compiled, the two parties agreed on a settlement of approximately $21 million – with $13 million of the settlement being put aside to set up a fund for Michael´s future medical and life care costs.