The family of a cyclist killed last year when she was struck by a sanitation truck in Philadelphia has settled claims against the trucking company for $6.125 million, a portion of which is set to go toward charitable organizations aimed at improving public safety.
Attorneys with Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky and Stuart Leon Bicycle Crash Law announced the settlement Thursday. The attorneys are representing the family of Emily Fredericks, who was killed in November in Center City when she was struck by a Gold Medal Environmental sanitation truck as it made a right turn.
The accord, which was reached before the plaintiffs filed suit, includes $6 million in compensation for the family, as well as $125,000 in payments to organizations dedicated to public safety. Those payments will be made in $25,000 installments over the next five years, with the first going to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
Saltz Mongeluzzi attorney Larry Bendesky thanked Gold Medal for working to resolve the case so quickly.
“Philadelphia citizens and visitors to our city will directly benefit from this settlement which could only be achieved from the cooperation of all parties and the determination of the Fredericks to do right by Emily’s death,” Bendesky said. “As a trial lawyer who has practiced for over 30 years, I am honored and humbled to be a part of this important settlement announcement, which is not just about financial recovery, but about making the streets safer for people who are riding bicycles in Philadelphia.”
According to attorneys, the settlement also includes an agreement by Gold Medal to implement 26 new safety policies and procedures, including barring its drivers from idling or stopping in bicycle lanes and retaining an independent safety consultant for ongoing audits.
The fatal collision occurred on Nov. 28, when the driver of a Gold Medal truck made a right turn from Spruce Street onto 11th Street. Attorneys said Fredericks was being cautious and wearing a helmet when the collision happened, but the driver was not paying attention and failed to heed a warning sign on the street that said drivers needed to yield to bicycle traffic. Fredericks was 24 at the time.
Fredericks’ death caused an uproar in the city, and quickly spurred a protest calling for more protection for bike lanes in the city.
Stuart Leon, who focuses his law practice on bicycle-related issues, said Thursday that “thousands and thousands of bicycle rides will be safer” as a result of the settlement.
“Emily’s tragedy will not be in vain,” Leon said.
The $6 million is Gold Medal’s full insurance policy, and Bendesky said there are no other lawsuits pending from the collision.
Gold Medal was represented by Theodore Schaer of Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy. Schaer did not return a call seeking comment.