Nebraska Bicyclist Sues Homeowners over Crash on Trail

January 30, 2013

  • January 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm
    master u/w'er says:
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    Not much of a rider if a little water was on the trail. Oh, was it winter and the water iced over? Shame on the rider for riding in icy weather. Guess the assumption of risk doctrine doesn’t apply in Nebraska.

  • January 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm
    Canuck says:
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    “he believes his accident was caused by the home’s sump pump dumping water on the trail.” How about his accident being caused by not keeping a proper lookout on what one assumes is a rural trail?

  • January 30, 2013 at 1:45 pm
    Mikey says:
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    I don’t think I would even consider suing if such a thing happened to me. I wouldn’t think of it. But I’m not a suing type of person I guess. It would be my own poor bike riding ability to blame. BTW…had he ridden on this trail alot? Was he aware it was often wet in that area?

  • January 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm
    AJ says:
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    Ban all sump pumps, bikes and idiots that crash them.

  • January 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm
    Publicus says:
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    Another desperate attorney taking a b.s. claim in the hope of getting a “chump change” settlement.

  • January 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm
    John Scrader says:
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    I’m not an attorney, but I know for a fact that there is an assumption of risk when you ride a bike, skateboard, skiing, etc…The assumption of risk tort enables us to have ski resorts and public skateboard ramps/parks.

    • January 30, 2013 at 3:12 pm
      Agreed, John says:
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      And Bike Trails!!!

    • February 1, 2013 at 7:08 pm
      SteveB says:
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      John – the “assumption of risk” is being blurred by all of the frivilous lawsuits that are won, just because it is less expensive to settle rather than fight. Unfortunate!

  • January 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    MeIsEinstein says:
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    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • January 30, 2013 at 4:01 pm
      youngin' says:
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      Stay classy, Einstein.

    • January 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm
      Big Mike In CA says:
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      Wouldn’t it just suck if you found out that he voted for the other guy, who didn’t even want to BE president, if you believe what the news reported about his wife and sons “convincing” him to run in the first place? Get over yourself, Einie!

  • January 30, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    WyomingAgent says:
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    Did he know he was on private property? If he knew that and was on the property without permission don’t we still call that tresspassing? Curious minds want to know.

  • January 30, 2013 at 8:21 pm
    Kevin Connolly says:
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    (1) This is just the report of a suit being filed. Doesn’t mean the suit has merit.
    (2) Water on the trail is not inherent in bicycling, so the assumption of risk might not apply.
    (3) Since water on the trail is not a Mantrap, this case should be dismissed on motion, and early.

  • January 31, 2013 at 9:07 am
    Nebraskan says:
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    I promise it wasn’t me! I lived in Lincoln for 6 years and those trails are a great part of the city, but I didn’t think homeowners who live on the trail had anything to do with the maintenance.

    I agree with Mikey, it would never had occurred to me to sue someone if I had an accident on one of those trails. This guy should be ashamed of himself. Next he will probably sue Lance Armstrong.

    Law question, if there is the assumption of risk, why would the lawyer even waste his time filing suit?

  • January 31, 2013 at 10:38 am
    Insurance DataArchitect says:
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    They are looking for a STUPID insurance company to make a SETTLEMENT duh!

  • January 31, 2013 at 11:45 am
    Phoenix says:
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    Everybody here thinks that the discharge of water from a private home into a public area, obviously creating a hazard which would not have existed otherwise, is fine and dandy? Nobody thinks the property owner is responsible for safely “disposing” of the water they pump from their home?

    • January 31, 2013 at 1:00 pm
      Don't Call Me Shirley says:
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      What, do you think it doesn’t ever rain in Nebraska either? If a sump pump was activated, that means it had rained. The trail could just as likely have still been wet from that. It’s the property owner’s fault if it rains on their property, thus making it wet? Do we now have to take a hair dryer out and dry off our property every time it rains?

      • January 31, 2013 at 1:48 pm
        Phoenix says:
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        Sump pumps will pump water from any number of sources, not just rain. But that’s beside the point.

        If indeed the bicycle wreck was a direct result of water on this “trail” having been artificially transported there by the homeowners sump pump, creating an unsafe condition which could not have been reasonably foreseen by the rider, I believe it could easily be considered it a negligent act on the part of the homeowner.

        If the sump pump had directed the water into the neighbor’s basement, causing property damage, this would also hold true I’m sure. It was a negligent discharge of water from the homeowners property which resulted in a loss. Not completely analogous to the bodily injury argument but fairly parallel.

        • January 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm
          Jon says:
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          Phoenix,

          The vast majority of IJ’ers here are not claims employees–so they really aren’t 100% knowledgable on the subject.

          As is typical of IJ–there’s a lack of information surrounding the events that resulted in the loss, so it’s hard to say if there’s a viable tort case or not.

        • February 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm
          Don't Call Me Shirley says:
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          Phoenix, I guess you have a point there with your last paragraph. I had to laugh because it made me think of that Nationwide commercial where the homeowners are trying to firgure out what that switch on the wall was operating, and it turned out to be the neighbor’s garage door opener.

  • January 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    Floodguy says:
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    Sump pumps carelessly emptied in areas which are flat and drain poorly create semi-permanent wet conditions. If this is close to the trail, what developes is an algae-covered (slick) surface. You have probably seen this within community from sprinkler heads leaking water on common property. If the homeowners are negligent for creating a hazardous condition on property they do not own, surely there is some concern to be dealt with.

  • January 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    Jimbo says:
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    I’ve ridden on wet trails here in CA and it can be a little spooky even with a helmet and gloves. Did the property owner create a hazard on the trail? Well, who is responsible for maintaining the trail? If it rained recently, was it necessarily the homeowners’s sump pump or was the water from rain? Is it reasonable to assume that the trail may still have some water related hazards and should the rider have prepared for them? And for that matter, there is an inherent risk that if you ride a bike, you will probably wipe out at some point. I have, most of the folks I ride with have. We really need some solid rules in our civil courts in this country.

    • January 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm
      SWFL Agent says:
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      I guess we really don’t have enough info on this. If it had rained recently and some parts or shoulders of the trail were wet then the “inherent risk” argument may be worthly. On the other hand, if the trail was bone dry, no rain in the area for a while, and water & algae collected on the trail due to the sump pump(maybe not visible to the rider because the trail was shaded or water was in a curve of the trail) then I guess you could say the pump contributed to the accident.

  • January 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm
    Furrie Princess says:
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    Long story, short version: A neighbor didn’t like his up-hill neighbor’s downspouts dumping in his yard and asked the elderly man to fix it, elderly man said, I am unable to do it, but go ahead if you want to do the work. Neighbor did re-direct the water from the downspouts toward the street. However, what he did was run a drain pipe along the property to the sidewalk, area was elevated about 3 feet above the sidewalk…the firehose effect of the pipe…. that blasted passersby on the sidewalk…. Not a fun way to walk home from the bus after a long day at work, but sue, no. I mentioned the problem to his daughter who re-routed it yet again.

  • February 1, 2013 at 10:49 am
    Jas says:
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    No matter what doctrine would or will apply here. The goal was to get two lawyers in a room and when that happens, money changes hands, plain and simple.

  • February 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm
    KLC says:
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    First the bike rider has to prove the homeowner negligent then they have to discuss comparative negligence. The bike rider’s negligence bars recovery if it is equal to or greater than the total negligence of the homeowner. I suggest that if he gets on the bike and rides the trail he assumes the risk; or stay home.

  • February 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    Gnashgal says:
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    In most states cyclists have the same rights as vehicles on the road, most people just don’t know it. If the trail was specific for bikers, then the homeowners do have a responsibility if they were negligent in making the trail unsafe. Whomever is responsible for the maintenance of the trail should assume liability as well for not properly inspecting it. Perhaps the homeowners were unaware of the sump pump being a problem. It’s a long stretch. If it was a persistent problem, then I’m sure other cyclists knew about the path. The path does run both ways. As drivers, we should report unsafe conditions, the same goes for cyclists.

  • February 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm
    Nebraskan says:
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    I guess I will add this much. If the homeowner (past and present) really had a(n)(un)known sump pump problem and didn’t fix it….then I guarantee you there would be plenty of other riders jumping on this lawsuit because those trails are always busy. I find it hard to believe this guy was the ONLY one who was hurt by it because it would be a continual problem. That is why I am suspicious.

  • February 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm
    Elizabeth V m says:
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    The biker should have known better before riding his bike over water, moreover, muddy water, he should have known it would make the bike slippery, even people slip on water wearing certain rubber sole shoes! A teenager would have more common sense than this man who just wants money the easy way at the risk of his own health. Now a stupid woman like that. This kind of lawsuits should be reviewed and NEVER ALLOWED TO MAKE IT TO COURT with no need to bother the defendants being sued by EXTORTIONISTS! From stupidity to unfairness and the mocking of the court system becomes a laugh, irritation and frustration once again. People must know where they step on, ride on, drive on, rather than acting like spoiled rotten children with temper tantrums to get what they want, worse, these are adults DAH!!!!



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