A 36-year-old Bloomfield man who was in an induced coma and had his left leg amputated after the bicycle he was riding was sideswiped by a 33,000-pound box truck has settled his case for $5 million.
“We were going to kill them at trial,” said Bergenn, a partner with Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford. “We had a guy [the driver] who gave the wrong name to police and not only did not have a his [commercial driver's license], but he also did not even have a Connecticut driver’s license. He was also in the U.S. unlawfully.”
Shipman & Goodwin partner William Ronalter was lead plaintiff attorney on the case.
The draft lawsuit on behalf of bicyclist Michael Galikas names both truck driver Antonio Giron Santiz and his employer, East Windsor-based Baggott Family Farms, as defendants.
“The company is also at fault,” Bergenn said. “They did not vet him like they should have.”
Baggott Family Farms did not respond to requests via phone and Facebook for comment Thursday. The company did not have an attorney on the case, but worked on the matter with its adjuster, Sugeiry Lind of Farm Family Casualty Insurance. Lind did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Bergenn and the draft lawsuit, Galikas was riding his bicycle in a narrow bike lane on the shoulder of Day Hill Road in Windsor when it appears the wide mirrors of the 26-foot-long truck struck him. Galikas fell off his bike onto the road, and the truck’s rear wheels ran over his legs. He was in an induced coma for several weeks before having his left leg amputated above the knee.
Bergenn said Santiz tried to flee the scene after the incident, but was pursued by several vehicles. While it did not appear any witnesses saw the collision, Bergenn said several people in their vehicles did see the bicyclist on the ground and the truck driver allegedly trying to leave the scene.
Santiz was charged with several infractions, including reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle without a license, and giving a false statement to law enforcement officers. The latter charge stemmed from Santiz telling police that Galikas was on the phone at the time of the incident, according to Bergenn.
“My client’s phone records proved he was not on the phone,” Bergenn said.
Santiz, who is from Latin America, has not faced his charges because “we do not know where he is right now,” Bergenn said. The Windsor police media representative, Capt. Thomas Lepore, did not respond to a request for comment on the status of the criminal case.
The civil case was settled April 17. Galikas received the payment from Farm Family Casualty Insurance last week, Bergenn said.
Galikas is a senior manager of operations for Waste Management Co. He will be getting married this summer to a fiancée who “has been a loyal soulmate” while Galikas was out of work for about six months, Bergenn said.
“The settlement money will ensure he gets the medical care he needed,” the attorney said.