Jury awards $300,000 in bike crash, City of Annapolis seeks new trial

In June 2017, Matthew Hager was riding his bike in a cycle lane on Chinquapin Round Road when the front tire got stuck in a gap between the storm sewer grate and the roadway. Now, nearly 5 years later, and just before the city of Annapolis implemented an e-bike program, a jury found the city negligent in maintaining bike paths and awarded Mr. Hager $300,000.

Mr Hager suffered physical scarring under his eyes and permanent discoloration to his face where bits of pavement became embedded in his skin. Financially, he was out of work for a month. And emotionally, the toll continues. Photos of the injuries show several deep gashes above the eye, another below the eye, smaller facial lacerations and minor cuts and scrapes to his upper body and shoulders.

Hager notified the city of the accident and damage, and the city denied his claim. He filed a complaint in November 2019.

During the trial, it emerged that the City of Annapolis was aware of the grids and loopholes. In 2012 there was an almost identical accident on Duke of Gloucester Street and the victim in this case was not seriously injured and informed the city of the problem. It was a citywide problem.

THE PROBLEM: There is a frame embedded in the road surface that effectively creates a large hole. There is a grid in this frame; however it must be adjusted via Material to eliminate any dangerous shortcomings.

The city ordered the Material needed to fit the adjustable grilles to the frame and repair the Duke of Gloucester grille. However, the others were not repaired in a timely manner and Mr. Hager was implicated in the accident. In fact, the grate where Hager had his accident wasn’t repaired until mid-2018, long after the City was notified of the problem. Additionally, during the trial, it was noted that Hager’s legal team uncovered similar issues across the city in 2020, even after the lawsuit was filed.

Liquified Creative Annapolis

Despite all of this information, the City of Annapolis Law Office proceeded with a jury trial and declined to make a settlement offer in July 2021.

After a 4-day jury trial, a jury sided with Mr. Hagar, found the city negligent and awarded the plaintiff $300,000.

We contacted the City of Annapolis Justice Department to comment on the verdict and see if the remaining gates around the city had been repaired to prevent any similar incidents in the future; City Attorney D. Michael Lyles would not comment.

According to electronic court records, the City disagreed with the verdict and requested a new trial.

The city has been named a defendant in 45 cases under the Buckley administration (to date), 37 under the Pantelides administration, and 42 under the Cohen administration.

Read the amended complaint here.

Download (PDF, 215 KB)

Category: Local News, NEWS, Post on FB

Back To Top