Snohomish County pays $300,000 to settle cyclist’s claim

EVERETT — Snohomish County has agreed to pay a bicyclist $300,000 for injuries he suffered in a traffic accident with a public works employee more than three years ago.

The cyclist, Ryan Abbott, was in his late 20s at the time of the Nov. 15, 2005, collision in downtown Everett, said Tom Schwanz, a Snohomish County deputy prosecuting attorney. The crash left Abbott with two broken elbows and affected his ability to do a physically demanding job at a lumber yard.

The crash occurred on Hewitt Avenue about 6:25 a.m. as Abbott and the since-retired county employee, Mark Allen, were on their way to work, Schwanz said. Abbott had been riding east on Hewitt Avenue when the county worker, who was headed west, turned in front of him in a public utility truck.

Abbott filed suit in King County Superior Court in 2007. A mediator helped reach an agreement last month, avoiding a trial that was scheduled to begin this week.

Abbott, now 31, was happy with the settlement but has had a difficult time recovering from a severely broken right elbow, said his attorney, Paul Veillon of Bishop Law Offices in Seattle.

“The X-ray is so bad my client can’t even look at it,” Veillon said. “Now he has to try to train for a new career.”

Attorneys for both sides said it was hard to determine who was as fault. The cyclist was wearing dark clothing and did not have a light on the bike, so it wasn’t clear that the county driver could have seen him.

The County Council approved the payout by a vote of 4-0 on Wednesday.

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