Man sues city of Berkeley over biking injury

Aditi Raghunath/Staff

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A Berkeley resident filed a lawsuit Thursday against the city of Berkeley and several public employees alleging that the dangerous state of the roads caused him to fall from his bike and suffer injuries.

In the court documents, Patrick Sims alleges that he was lawfully riding his bike along Dana Street on June 25, 2015, when his tire was caught in a pothole and he was thrown from his bike. Sims reports that he was severely injured and hospitalized.

Sims is suing the city of Berkeley and several unnamed employees for the cost of his medical bills in addition to time and income lost while recovering. The city of Berkeley has yet to receive official notice on the lawsuit. City spokesperson Matthai Chakko declined to comment on an ongoing case.

The complaint claims Sims endured “physical pain, nervous suffering, and mental anguish.” According to an email from Sims’ lawyer Daniel Pocklington, his client sustained two fractured ribs and injury to his lung, which required a five-day hospital stay.

“We intend to amend the complaint and allege punitive damages based on what appears to be the reckless disregard for the safety of bicyclists on the roads in Berkeley,” Pocklington said.

According to the documents, there were no signs or barriers around the pothole to warn Sims of the dangerous condition. The document argues that the city had a responsibility for operating and maintaining the roads, which includes fixing potholes.

The document also alleges that several unnamed government employees, responsible for repairing and maintaining the roads, were aware of the poor condition of the road and allowed their practices to fall below the standard of care.

In 2014, an Oakland resident successfully sued the city for $3.25 million over severe injuries sustained in a bicycle accident caused by a pothole.

The Berkeley city website includes a form for cyclists to report potholes on their routes. Additionally, the city has a Street Repair Program intended to repave and reconstruct city streets.

Anderson Lanham is the lead crime & courts reporter. Contact her at [email protected].