Charges Not Filed in Hit and Run Injury to Famed Runner


Charges Not Filed in Hit and Run Injury to Famed Runner

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. It was announced by the office of the district attorney for Sacramento County that charges would not be filed in the hit-and-run injury on June 13 of Bill Finkbeiner. Finkbeiner, a Hall of Famer with the running association in Sacramento, was running along the American River Parkway bike trail when he suffered serious injuries after being struck by a bicyclist.

Injuries Caused by the Accident

Finkbeiner, 61, suffered fractures to his face and skull, several broken teeth and his thumb was broken in the incident in addition to numerous lacerations over his upper body and face. The running legend stated that the bicycle rider fled the scene after the crash, which he believes merits the charge of hit-and-run. Finkbeiner did say that the bike rider stopped and provided his name before getting on his bike and leaving; however, an account by Mother Lode Trails of the incident said that the man left without saying anything.

Charges in the Accident Not Being Filed

According to a representative of the district attorney’s office for the county, charges are not being filed in the case because it cannot be proved that a crime was committed. Although bicycle riders must obey traffic laws, whether those laws apply to a bicycle trail is a gray area. The bicycle rider reportedly dropped his cell phone when the accident happened but authorities could not obtain a search warrant to open it. The problem is that the vehicle code in California does not address whether an accident along a bike path between a pedestrian and bicyclist is a crime if the individual who caused the accident leaves the scene. In other scenarios, that occur along a city street, for example, it would be treated as a felony. Authorities are also stopped from charging the man with a lesser crime because the cell phone cannot be legally unlocked to locate him.

Pedestrian Safety

Safety for both pedestrians and bicyclists, according to the California Highway Patrol, is aided by being courteous, observing the rules of the road and looking out for others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5,376 walkers were killed in 2015 in traffic accidents and nearly 129,000 had to seek medical care at emergency rooms for injuries resulting from a collision with a motor vehicle. According to the CDC, safety can be improved by being more visible after dark, walking on a path or sidewalk and crossing streets at designated areas.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Collisions May Be Underreported

Normally, bicyclists are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks and other areas. However, there are numerous incidences of collisions between bike riders and pedestrians. Estimates from a study conducted by Hunter College in New York, are considered to be low and indicate that 1,000 accidents involving a bike rider and pedestrian are treated nationwide each year. The study points out that this number does not include those who sought medical treatment from urgent care or private physicians. Many pedestrians require further treatment, such as surgery, and cyclists should stop to provide aid to a pedestrian.

Recovering Damages

Since this accident happened on a trail, not on a street, sidewalk or crosswalk, there is confusion about prosecuting the cyclist in this cases. However, the victim may be able to file a lawsuit against the cyclist to recover financial expenses and pain and suffering. Contacting an experienced pedestrian injury lawyer may be a good idea for the injured pedestrian to find out what their rights are in this instance.


Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. If you or some member of your family has received an injury in a pedestrian accident, please reach out to me at 916-921-6400. I am here to offer you my friendly and free advice. My toll-free number is (800) 404-5400.

I am honored to have practiced as an injury lawyer in California including Sacramento since 1982, serving those with traumatic injuries or claims for wrongful death to obtain fair compensation.

Client reviews can be found at Avvo, Google Plus, and Yelp. My Verdicts and Settlements page also provides information about my prior cases and their results.

I belong to the forum of Million Dollar Advocates as a California member. This group comprises less than 1 percent of the lawyers in the country and only allows membership from those trial lawyers who have obtained at least $1 million in settlements and/or verdicts for clients.

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