The L.A. Times reports that Dr. Christopher Thompson, a medical doctor, an emergency room medical doctor no less, was convicted of assaulting two bicyclists by slamming on his car brakes after a confrontation on Mandeville Canyon Road, a narrow Brentwood, California street. Dr. Thompson was sentenced to five years in prison for his early morning road rage, a rage that caused permanent physical harm to his cycling victims.
Even more outrageous is that Dr. Thompson took the Hippocratic Oath which, among other things, binds him to act “for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous.” The victims in this case were not his patients but 60 year old Thompson is an emergency room doctor for Pete’s sake! How many cyclists has he treated in the past? I’m speculating dozens, if not hundreds. He should have known better -- taken the high road, as it were.
As a Southern California personal injury lawyer I am outraged by Thompson’s transgressions. I have represented many, many bicyclists who have been seriously and permanently injured by the careless acts of drivers who fail to keep an eye out for the riders. In almost every single case, the drivers and their insurance companies blame the cyclists for the accident and I’m forced to file a lawsuit to make them take responsibility for their acts, protect my clients and get them the just compensation that they deserve. But make no mistake: No amount of money is going to make them whole again. So I beseech you: Share The Road!
Injuries to bicycle riders range from sprains and strains to broken bones to partial paralysis or full paralysis to brain damage or any combination of these life-changing assaults often requiring months of medical treatment, hospital stays and, yes, sometimes even life-long care.
Dr. Thompson apparently had many prior confrontations with bicycle riders in his neighborhood. He didn’t like sharing the road. Tough, Dr. Thompson, tough. You slammed on your brakes in front of the bicycle riders and “One cyclist was flung face-first into the rear window of Thompson's red Infiniti, breaking his front teeth and nose and cutting his face. The other cyclist slammed into the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.”
Thompson wept when he was sentenced to five years in prison for his angry acts. This was not a case of negligence (i.e., the driver didn’t see the cyclist, etc.) but a case of intentional acts. Thompson was convicted of mayhem; assault with a deadly weapon, his car; battery with serious injury; and reckless driving causing injury. Did he weep because he felt remorse or because he’s going to jail? That, of course, we’ll never know.
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