Crash involved two cars, including one driven by a Labor Finders worker, which was a key element in the case
Gary Suydam was struck by two cars and paralyzed on Jan. 27, 2017, as he rode his bike home from work. This month, a jury awarded him more than $52 million in a judgment against a driver and the temp-work company that employed her.
The verdict is the largest personal injury judgment in a decades-spanning database compiled by the Jury Verdict Reporter of Colorado, and experts said it’s one of the largest civil judgments in Colorado’s history.
Suydam’s not guaranteed to receive any money yet. The case is likely to go to appeal — but if the judgment stands, Suydam could collect tens of millions from a franchise of the Labor Finders service.
“He’s an inspirational person to me. He has personally changed my life in his way that he’s handled this, battled, continued to work and continued to keep a positive attitude in the face of so many challenges,” said Stuart Mann, Suydam’s attorney.
Suydam, now 53, was riding in a bike lane along West 26th Avenue on that winter afternoon, heading from his office in Golden to his home near Sloan’s Lake. He crossed Wadsworth Boulevard with a green light.
At the same time, driver Chelsea Brewer turned left from the opposite side of the intersection, crossing into Suydam’s path, according to police reports. The collision knocked Suydam from his Mondial Tommaso bike.
As he lay wounded in the street, a second driver, Stephen Tecmire, followed Brewer into the intersection. Tecmire’s Honda CRV wheel ran over Suydam’s head and dragged him several feet, according to police reports. Tecmire stopped but then left the scene, later telling officers that he was unaware of the accident.
“I think they knew they went over me. They should have known they went over me. And an eyewitness said it looked like the car drove over a boulder,” Suydam told this reporter last year. “I have no doubt that the helmet saved my life.”
Suydam, a computer programmer and former rock-and-roller, hasn’t been able to move his lower body or hands since the crash.
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