Defense Verdict in Bicycle Accident / Accident Reconstructionist Permitted to Testify Regarding GPS Data

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Attorney John Girouard obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in Worcester Superior Court arising from a bicycle and motor vehicle accident.

The accident occurred at a four-way intersection on Route 9 in Southborough. The plaintiff claimed he was riding his bicycle through the intersection on a green light and that he was struck by the defendant’s motor vehicle suddenly and without warning, throwing him from his bicycle and onto the pavement.  Plaintiff claimed significant injuries including a broken nose, fractured ribs, spinal fracture at T1- T2, a separated right AC joint (grade 3), bruising to his right quadriceps, abrasions to his left elbow and right side, a cut to the corner of his right eye, head wound and a head injury.  Plaintiff claimed he required shoulder surgery and alleged ongoing permanent injuries.

The defendant driver testified that he had stopped at a red light and proceeded into the intersection after his traffic light had turned green and he had checked both directions and determined the intersection was clear. An independent third-party witness operating a vehicle alongside the defendant’s vehicle testified that he, too, viewed the intersection to be clear prior to proceeding forward. The eyewitness was able to stop in response to the approaching plaintiff bicyclist due to his vehicle’s automated braking system. Both defendant and the eyewitness testified that the plaintiff ran into the driver’s side of the defendant’s car thereby contradicting the plaintiff’s claim that the defendant struck him.

The plaintiff bicyclist was using a “Ride with GPS” application at the time of the collision.  The defense retained an expert accident reconstructionist to incorporate the data gleaned from the GPS app to provide expert testimony as to the plaintiff’s speed, location and travel path leading up to the collision.  Plaintiff filed a Motion to Preclude the defendant’s expert on the grounds that the GPS data was unreliable and constituted inadmissible hearsay.  Attorney Girouard opposed the plaintiff’s motion, arguing that GPS data has been deemed admissible in Massachusetts courts and that time and location data is highly accurate across horizontal planes and with a clear view of the sky such as the subject accident location. The court denied plaintiff’s motion and the defendant’s expert reconstructionist was permitted to testify at trial.

Further, during the trial Attorney Girouard questioned the plaintiff about medical evidence suggesting that the plaintiff had a significant degenerative eye condition that adversely impacted his peripheral vision and he acknowledged that he took no steps to slow or stop to avoid colliding with the side of defendant’s vehicle prior to impact. After hearing all evidence and arguments, the jury returned with a defense verdict in favor of the defendant driver.

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