The City of LA To Pay Out $4.5 Million To Family of Cyclist Killed in Fatal Crash

Posted by Josh Valentine | Jun 14, 2017

The family of a biker in Los Angeles decided to file a lawsuit against the city after their loved one was killed in a deadly accident. The family claims that the city's failure to repair faulty sidewalks and infrastructure led to the death of the 56-year-old resident.

According to recent articles, Edgardo Gabat had just recently joined a Southern California biking club who called themselves “Adobo Belo” and was meeting them for the first time during a group ride on that fateful evening in Eagle Rock. It was just after sunset when the group rode past a street, known as Figueroa Boulevard, that contained a 2-inch ridge in the concrete. When Gabat's bike struck that ridge, it sent him forcefully flying forward. He flipped three times over his handlebars, eventually landing on his neck on the concrete said the family's attorney, Arash Homampour. Gabat had been wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Reports released by California authorities state that Gabat was responsive when members from the biking club had come to his aid prior to calling 911. But by the time he was rushed and admitted into a local hospital, his condition had worsened. Hospital staff first announced that the man was brain dead and in critical condition before the family was informed that their loved one had passed away.

Gabat's wife and daughter spoke out against the accident and sued the city shortly after. The lawsuit detailed that city officials had neglected the defective pavement and should have posted signs warning bikers about the irregular conditions. Figueroa Boulevard was part of a bicycle route that was commonly traveled by local cyclists. And although the street does not contain designated bike lanes, it is classified in city documents as a “bicycle-friendly street.” The lawsuit mentioned that other bicyclists have been injured as a result of biking in that same area.

“If you're in a car and you encounter a 2-inch irregularity, it's of no consequence,” Homampour said. “When bicyclists are using a street, a 2-inch separation can be catastrophic.”

Local advocacy groups that push for safer transportation measures have been urging the city for months to take care of its decaying streets. They claim that their efforts have been blatantly ignored since the city's 2008 recession. City spokesperson, Mike Feuer declined to comment on these claims.

The Los Angeles City Council recently agreed to settle the Gata family's lawsuit for $4.5 million. An amount that will be distributed to family members over the course of two years. Attorney Homampour says the settlement is a step in the right direction.

“By bringing these types of claims, we want to bring to light the areas where the city isn't paying attention and where they need to improve,” Homampour said. “No one wants to have their husband go on a bike ride and then learn that he's died.”

If you have been injured due to the actions of another person, organization or entity, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Caulder & Valentine today to receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar