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A Swerving Lincoln and Life-Changing Injuries

In June of 2014, Paul Caradori, was severely injured in a bicycle accident while riding on the shoulder of Fonda Road in Waterford.

“I noticed a car swerving over the line of the road, this big Lincoln coming right at me,” remembers Caradori, a lab technician and father of two. “I was able to get over a little bit, but he hit me head-on.”

Bicycle accident scene, photo of damage to car from accident attorney's file

A photo of damage to the car that hit Paul Caradori as he was riding his bicycle.

Caradori said witnesses told police that he was thrown high into the air, landing in an evergreen and bouncing to the ground. His injuries were substantial: a deep gash in his leg, breaks in his hand, wrist and left shoulder, a shattered elbow, torn ligaments in his left knee, a separated right shoulder, multiple broken ribs and a bang to the head that knocked him unconscious.

He was rushed to Albany Medical Center. In those first two weeks after the bicycle accident, before he was transferred to Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, his wife fielded numerous phone calls from insurance companies. It became clear that even for something as simple as the replacement of the smashed bicycle, the insurance company was willing to offer only 75 percent of replacement value. The couple began to realize that the medical bills and lost wages were mounting into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Time to get a lawyer

“That’s when I decided we needed to get a lawyer, and I called George,” Caradori said. “The police didn’t ticket the driver, didn’t do a sobriety check and didn’t check his cell phone. Basically, the guy went home and that was the end of the story for him. If we didn’t have those two witnesses there, who knows how bad this thing could have been. I’d like to see legislation passed for mandatory sobriety testing when a personal injury is involved.”

George LaMarche advocated for the Caradoris to make sure the medical bills were covered through No-Fault insurance, first from the driver’s policy, and when those limits were reached, through the Caradori’s. Long-term disability insurance covered 60 percent of his salary until he was able to return to work 11 months after the accident. Most importantly, LaMarche made sure the driver’s insurance company paid 100 percent of the limits of the policy’s coverage, without having to engage in a lengthy and expensive civil lawsuit.

I’m very thankful I’m here, and I don’t try to hold any anger,” Caradori said. “The disappointing part is I kind of worked my whole life to stay in shape so I could do all these things when I“. Now I struggle every day, all because I went out for a quick ride and bang.”

A year and half later Caradori is still doing physical therapy and contemplating additional surgeries to correct ongoing problems.

“I will have injuries to deal with for the rest of my life,” Caradori said. “It has been a difficult recovery, but I’d like to thank George for all he has done for me.  

Photograph of smashed bicycle and gear taken at the scene of the bicycle accident, from the personal injury case file.

Paul Caradori has a long road to recovery after his bicycle accident, but with counsel from Clifton Park personal injury attorney George LaMarche, he received the full amount of available insurance coverage without going to court.

“He guided us through and helped us make the right decisions without wasting a lot of money. I can see how you might make a lot of mistakes if you didn’t have the right lawyer. George was there every step of the way and his dedication to my case allowed my family and I to focus solely on my recovery. “

A Spring Day, a Steep Hill, a BMX bike, a Crash

It was the last day of school, a warm, sunny June day, and 16-year-old Ben Budesheim was racing down a long hill from a friend’s house on his tricked-out BMX bike, headed for a festival in Sand Lake.

“In those days, he used to routinely ride 20 miles on his bike,” Ben’s dad, Edward remembers. “It was nothing to him. Being 16, he wasn’t required to wear a helmet, and of course, he was too cool to put one on.”

A car, driven by an 18-year-old neighborhood girl, suddenly came out of a side road, straight into the teenager. 

“She hit him square in the left femur with the right front corner of the car, and he went flying up over the windshield,” Edward said. “When we finally got the bike back from the police, it looked like a pretzel.”

When the ambulance arrived and paramedics found Ben where he had been thrown about 25 feet from the impact site, they immediately called for a helicopter to fly him to Albany Medical Center. He was placed in a medically induced coma.

Extensive injuries

“My femur broke off at the hip and the knee and six places in between,” Ben recalls, although he can remember precious little else about the accident. “My right lung collapsed and my head split open. I had road rash all up my back and legs.”

Edward adds: “What they were really concerned about was the swelling of the brain.”

The police told Edward that the thing that probably saved his son’s life was Ben’s backpack – stuffed with clothes – that absorbed a small amount of the impact before his unprotected head hit the pavement.

As the Budesheims’ held vigil at their son’s bedside in the intensive care unit, the realities of the situation began to crowd in. The driver’s insurance carried $100,000 worth of No-Fault coverage, most of which was gobbled up in the first couple of days of emergency treatment.

“The MedEvac alone was in the area of $26,000 for a five-mile helicopter ride,” Edward said. “The bills were getting up in excess of $200,000 by the time we were able to bring Ben home, and there were huge amounts of lost wages between me and my wife. We’re both self-employed, so if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. My wife talked to our health insurance company, and they said they didn’t have anything to do with it because it was a No-Fault thing.”

A friend recommended the family contact George LaMarche at LaMarche Safranko Law.

“It was very stressful,” Edward said. “I had a kid who couldn’t walk, and my wife and I couldn’t work. We were being threatened by so many things by the hospital.”

As Edward remembers that first phone call, George LaMarche said, “‘You just give me those bills and I’ll get them taken care of.’ That guy went above and beyond. He was able to handle a lot of the information very quickly.

“He got us a 100 percent of what could be got,” Edward added. “In a different circumstance, we maybe had a million-dollar lawsuit, but those people didn’t have any money. George helped us understand that it would cost more to file a lawsuit than anything we would ever get. He explored every avenue. I can’t be happier with George.”

Three years later, Ben is 20, working full-time as an auto-body technician and part-time at a supermarket, plus playing baseball for fun. He’s more interested in cars these days than being a BMX star.  When it’s cold or about to rain, he can feel it around the titanium rod that replaced his femur, but otherwise, he feels pretty whole.

“What I will say,” Ben laughed, “is there’s no time to be too cool to not wear a helmet.”

Danger of Bicycle Accidents, Even for the Cautious

Dale Ching had been spending less time with his bicycle lately, frequently opting to exercise on an indoor cycle. Two of his friends had recently been in bicycle accidents – one in Troy and one in Burnt Hills – and he was feeling a little wary. 

“As you get older, I think you tend to get more cautious about your health,” said Dr. Ching, an optometrist in Saratoga Springs. “A lot of the cars don’t give us a lot of room. Their mentality is that they see us as being nuisances on the road. Sometimes we get yelled at. Sometimes they crowd us off the road.”

But on his birthday in 2015, he took advantage of a beautiful September afternoon to meet up with a friend for a bike ride. He was on his way home, when his fears became real.

 “I was biking on Route 9, and I made a signal and started a right turn. It was funny, because I meant to keep going straight,” Dale said. “If I hadn’t made that turn for no apparent reason, the car would have hit me straight on, and I guess it would have been a lot worse. I guess someone up there was looking out for me.”

What did happen is that the car behind him passed on the left as Dale was making his right turn, but got too close. Dale was clipped on his side by the rear left fender of a car and thrown to the ground. His bike helmet split apart and he was knocked unconscious.

“So, I was lucky no one else ran over me,” Dale said. “When I woke up, I saw two paramedics standing over me. They took me to Saratoga Hospital, where they did a CAT scan, and they determined I had fractured my hip and had a subdural hematoma.”

Because of the bleeding in his brain, he was transferred by ambulance to Albany Medical Center, in case neurosurgery would be required.

 “This was the first time I’d ever been in a car accident where I was hurt, and I didn’t know what to do,” Dr. Ching said. “I knew the medical bills would be a lot, and I just wanted to make sure those were covered.”

Dale’s son does some occasional work for a local judge in town, and asked him for advice. 

“He said, ‘Contact an attorney.’ His recommendation was that the best personal injury attorney in the area was George LaMarche,” Dale said.

LaMarche was able to contact witnesses to the accident, who confirmed that Dale had signalled his right turn and hadn’t swung wide or to the left. He dealt with the insurance company to make sure the tens of thousands in expenses for the two hospitals, the two ambulance rides, four months of recovery, follow up care and three months of physical therapy were covered.

“I felt a little bit funny at first, because nobody ever wants to talk to an attorney. But this wasn’t just a little bruising. I wasn’t sure if I would have lasting affects or if I would need long term care,” Dale said. “George took care of everything.”

Consult With An Attorney for Free

If you or a loved one have been involved in a pedestrian or bicycle accident with a motor vehicle, contact the personal injury attorneys at LaMarche Safranko Law for a free consultation, or call (518) 982-0770. We have law offices in Albany, Clifton Park, and Plattsburgh NY, and we are available to take your call 24 hours a day.

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Ped Bike Law

Ped Bike Law