City of Grand Rapids Agrees to a $725,000 Settlement Following the Death of a Cyclist

Despite the fact that no criminal charges were every pressed, a settlement has been reached in the wrongful death lawsuit of Gregory Siemion, a man who was struck and killed on Bridge Street NW, the city of Grand Rapids. The settlement amount of $725,000 was the agreed upon amount.

Vicari, Matthew L-webWrongful death attorney, Matthew Vicari, handled the case for Siemon’s sister and is very pleased with the city’s settlement agreement. “For damages, it’s hard to know how a jury might value the case” since Siemion was unemployed, Vicari said. “(The settlement) is a significant amount. We think it’s an affirmation of the fact that the city dump truck driver should not have been on the road that day.

The accident took place on May 20, 2009 when a city dump truck driven by Benny Branch, a city employee who didn’t have a spotless driving record, struck Siemion who was riding a bicycle. After impact, Siemion was caught under the dump truck and dragged close to 90 feet. Branch claims he never saw Siemion until he heard a noise and looked in a rearview mirror.

Siemion passed away as a direct result of his injuries, and the driver retired. No criminal charges were ever filed against him.

One of the big problems both sides of the lawsuit faced was the fact that no one witnessed the accident, making it impossible to accurately reconstruct what had taken place. What gave the plaintive an edge in this situation was Branch’s driving record. During his time as a city driver there had been numerous times when he’s been involved in vehicular episodes, often when he was behind the wheel of an official city vehicle.

“Branch has a long history of being involved in accidents while driving city vehicles, some including where he is the at-fault driver,” wrongful death attorney Matthew Vicari stated in the paperwork.

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At the time of his accident, Siemion was unemployed and didn’t have any immediate family, which made it possible for his sister to file the wrongful death lawsuit. She plans to use the settlement to pay Siemion’s outstanding medical bills.

While some members of the Grand Rapids City Council have raised concerns about the fact the settlement isn’t going to immediate family, most are pleased with the results of the case. City Attorney Catharine Mish feels that settling the lawsuit out of court was the best way to spare the city the cost of lengthy trial.

tumblr_nxynisrZvA1uak29xo1_400In the United States, vehicular accidents are one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths. In the United States during 2006, 2,459 deaths were the direct result of an auto accident. If someone you loved was killed in an auto accident, don’t assume that just because the investigating officers weren’t able to determine an actual cause of the accident means that a wrongful death lawsuit can’t be filed. Also you can contact John Bales legal team for help.  An experienced wrongful death attorney will launch a deeper investigation might uncover additional information that makes filing a lawsuit a good decision.

Contact us if you find yourself in need of a good wrongful death attorney. 

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