Mark Stuckelman, whom I met at my friend and 2005 Maccabi USA Teammate Rob Urbach’s home, was a winner today at the quadrennial Maccabiah Games in Israel. He won the gold medal in his age group and ended up 17th out of 180 overall. He relates, “It was the hardest race I’ve ever done. I was cooked at the finish. It was 102 [degrees] on the run and the course was long. Our team captain collapsed on the run and got taken to the hospital. He’s OK and will be released today. My time was 2:19:40. The Alterman brothers who race ITU [as professional athletes and won in 2005] and are ranked 20th in the world took the top spots, just under 2 hours.” Congratulations to “Stuck” and all the members of the 2009 team !
Victims of negligently inflicted sports injury often seek to recapture their former fitness through aggressive physical and occupational therapy. Loudoun, Leesburg and Fairfax injury lawyer Doug Landau, like his clients, uses fitness balls for fitness, strength training and flexibility. However, it has come to the attention of the ABRAMS LANDAU staff that about three million fitness balls sold in department stores and sporting good retailers nationwide have been voluntarily recalled. This recall follows 47 reports that the fitness balls unexpectedly burst, in some cases causing injuries, according to the http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html.The balls carrying the names Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, Valeo and Body Fit – were distributed by EB Brands of Yonkers, NY and made in China. They were sold between May 2000 and February 2009 for between $15 and $30. The 55-, 65- and 75-centimeter sizes are involved in the recall, and were sold with a pump and inflation instructions. The CPSC believes the balls burst because they were over-inflated. Consumers should contact EB Brands by calling 800-624-5671 in order to receive updated inflation instructions. If you or someone you know was injured by a defective or dangerous sports product, please call us at once at 703-796-9555.
In addition to audio evidence, collecting physical evidence can also support a case of violent dog attack against a biker, runner, postman or walker. Doug Landau and investigators for ABRAMS LANDAU seek and collect hair, skin or fur from the attacking animal. These tissue samples can be matched just like DNA evidence in a rape or assault case involving humans and introduced in Court.Another piece of evidence that can help an injured biker’s case is a report from an “expert witness.” A bike mechanic’s report that the damage to the bent bike frame is consistent with a dog attack from the side as opposed to a fall or bicycle crash can help prove an animal attack case where the only witness is the cyclist herself. Doug Landau has introduced physical evidence in bicycle accident cases in Leesburg, Fairfax, Loudoun and Washington, D.C. In one case, pictures of the bike tires’ grooves in the soft shoulder of the road helped prove the cyclists’ direction of travel and position right before the injury producing “point of impact.”At ABRAMS LANDAU, we have cases where clients have also downloaded information from their Garmin GPS units, Polar Electro monitors and other data collection and electronic exercise equipment to show their bike speed was not unsafe or excessive; that they were not at an “excited” heart rate until the very moment of the attack or impact; or the location of the point where the dogs or other animals started their “chase” before pouncing on the cyclist.There are other methods of proving these violent cases, including measuring skid marks and yaw marks; mapping debris fields; locating blood stain and spilled liquids; and, marking foot and paw prints in appropriate cases. Photographs with digital cameras, cell phones and PDAs can be very helpful, before wet paw prints or sweaty foot prints (like those in the photo) evaporate, are covered or the accident scene is compromised. If you, or someone you know, has ben injured by a dog or animal attack, please e-mail or call us at once at (703)-796-9555.
Nothing ruins a good bike ride like a nasty dog with a brain the size of a kumquat. Dogs that bark from their own yards, inside their owners’ homes or running along fences don’t shake most bikers. But bad dogs, “yip-yip dogs” and crazy canines that are untrained, unsecured or who have bitten and tasted flesh and blood are another story entirely. While you may encounter a large growling dog head-on, it’s usually the small to medium sized dogs that come at you from behind that can be the most dangerous. Like “heat seeking missiles” these animals can cause fatal crashes. My wife has been known to set land speed records on her bicycle when a pack of “yip-yip” dogs chases her down a rural road. It can be terrifying, dangerous and even deadly. At ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we have helped cyclists, postal workers, police officers, deliverymen, swimmers, joggers and children who have been attacked and savagely bitten by dogs. These cases almost always involve permanent injuries, scarring and a lifelong fear of dogs.
While the injuries in dog attack and animal bite cases are usually objectively verifiable and the scarring permanent, proving legal causation in an “unwitnessed dog attack” can be more difficult. When a cyclist, runner or delivery worker is chased, attacked and bitten by a dog (or pack of dogs), and there are no others who witness the vicious attack that can be identified or are known to the innocent plaintiff, the Defendant dog owners’ homeowner and other insurance companies will deny the injured victim’s claim. The Landau personal injury team investigates these cases in order to overcome the insurance companies’ denials and defenses.
The “911” tapes of the emergency calls can yield helpful information and witness identification information, especially where the biker has sustained a head injury, been knocked out or had a traumatic brain injury. We have seen cases where the bicyclist has had a concussion or gone into shock from blood loss, and not regained consciousness until in the ambulance or helicopter during transportation to the Emergency Room. The police, fire and rescue teams arrive long after the dogs have disbursed and the attack on the cyclist, jogger, postal worker or deliveryman have ended. Tomorrow’s post will examine physical data that can help support the audio evidence of a vicious dog or other animal attack on a peloton, lone cyclist, jogger or pedestrian.
After racing in the Winchester area, Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau visited Great Harvest Bread for some treats before heading to the office. The TriathlonTrialLawyer surveyed cyclists coming in from the W&OD Trail for free samples and carbs during their weekend rides to see if they know that they could get points on their DMV driving record for infractions on their bicycles. None of the bikers questioned knew that they could get points.
Even Landau’s friend and Great Harvest owner Jack Corkey was surprised that bikers ticketed for moving violations could get points in addition to large fines and court costs. Evidence tends to suggest that the Cycling community is not well-informed as to the penalties and serious ramifications on their motor vehicle privileges moving violations and tickets while riding their bikes can bring in the Commonwealth of Virginia. That is why Herndon injury, disability and bike crash lawyer Doug Landau has been traveling to venues where he can speak with bikers, multi-sport athletes and bicycle tourists about issues of safety, communication and the law.
Pushing his luck, and his 49-year-old body, Doug Landau drove down to Colonial Beach Virginia to race in his second multisport event of the weekend. Doing his first Olympic Distance Triathlon since September, Landau and “Rehab to Racing” Coach Rob Colburn managed to score a room at the Days Inn, less than 100 yards from the starting line ! In other words, the TriathlonTrialLawyer had no excuse to be late. This race also provided Landau with an opportunity to speak with Tidewater area cyclists and USAT officials about the Traffic Court proceedings in Loudoun County and similar prosecution in the Town of Vienna and elsewhere. One participant told the ABRAMS LANDAU trial attorney about an off-duty Texas police officer who was ticketed for an “Idaho stop” by a fellow officer from the same department !
- TriathlonTrialLawyer Doug Landau enjoys Colonial Beach, Virginia, where he visits clients, friends and, of course, races
After getting off his soap box, Continue reading
Soccer, Basketball and Golf tournaments were not the only events contested at the Frederick County Parks & Recreation Department‘s “SportsFest 2009.” FCPRD also held Aquathon races for adults, teams and kids at the Sherando Park Pool in Stephens City, Virginia. TriathlonTrialLawyer Doug Landau entered the SportsFest Aquathon, which combined a 500 meter pool swim with a 5km cross country run. While the Herndon injury & disability lawyer was one of the last to emerge from the pool, he managed to catch enough racers in the woods to finish 3rd overall. This was a good thing, as Landau won a chair and needed to sit and rest before racing again the next day in Colonial Beach !
After the race, the ABRAMS LANDAU trial attorney entertained questions from the Winchester, Clark County and Front Royal multisport athletes, cyclists and wheelmen who had been following the fate of the “MS-8.” These “outside the Beltway” athletes were baffled by the criminal prosecutions of the charity bikers in Loudoun County and Leesburg. Landau patiently explained the court cases, the outcomes and the relevant laws before going to watch some of the other SportsFest competitions. This truly “Multi” Sport event is unique, inexpensive and looks like great fun for all ages and the entire family.
The DC Dextro Triathlons had 5 Maccabiah team athletes competing 4 weeks before the quadrennial games’ triathlon was to be contested in Israel. It was a great day for members of the USA Maccabiah Triathlon team racing in our Nation’s Capitol (yes, that’s the White House behind Landau’s head !). Mark Stuckelman, a member of the 2009 team, along with 2005 team member Rob Urbach, won an age group award in the Olympic Distance race. Doug Landau, also from the 2005 team, won an award in the sprint distance event. Because the race was contested under DC’s hot and humid conditions, it was an excellent training exercise for Stuckelman, who will likely encounter severe “heat load” in Israel. By preparing for extreme conditions, endurance athletes can carry enough water, electrolytes and calories to prevent dehydration, overheating and “bonking.” Experienced athletes like Stuckelman will experiment with different hydration solutions and gels in order to ascertain the best mix of solid and liquid fuels for long, hot racing. Heat injury and exhaustion can lead to bike crashes, dizziness, fainting and loss of consciousness. That is why it is so important to train for the conditions in which you will be racing and to acclimatize once you arrive at the race venue.
Maccabiah USA Sports for Israel supporters and participants crossed paths at the ITU Dextro Triathlons in Washington, D.C. These races were held in the Potomac River and finished on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol Hill ! The world’s best pro triathletes competed after the amateurs. Their transition area was carpeted for their multi-lap, draft legal races. Doug Landau got to watch the race with 2-time Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield of Canada. What Landau, who has a keen interest in sports medicine, found particularly interesting was the fact that the leaders where running at just over 5 minutes per mile pace at heart rates of only 140 beats per minute!
TriathlonTrial Lawyer Doug Landau was able to visit with 2005 teammate (and bicycle crash injury client) Rob Urbach before and after the races. Also participating in one of her first multisport races was 2005 US Maccabiah Triathlon Team Manager Lisa Levin Reichman. Mrs. Reichman, in addition to being a busy wife and mother who was featured in the Examiner newspapers this spring, was also a Pan Am Maccabiah Games half marathoner and medalist. Doug Landau has worked with Maryland attorney and triathlon competitor Charles Chester, andit is hoped that Chester will have the opportunity to go and compete in Israel together. 2009 Triathlon Team Member Mark Stuckelman, who was visiting from Los Angeles, California, was using the DC race as a tune up. Good luck to Mark and the rest of the 209 United States Triathlon team.
If I get ticketed while riding my bike I could lose my license to drive my car, but if I get my license to drive my car suspended, do I lose my bicycle privileges ?”
Do I now have to carry my drivers license when I ride my bicycle ?
Are the Loudoun, Fairfax and Leesburg police now going to write me up for not having reflectors and lights when I ride with my bike club ?
These are some of the questions that came flooding into TriathlonTrialLawyer Doug Landau’s office after Tuesday’s Court case in Leesburg, the Loudoun Times article , comments on the blogsphere and Thursday’s coverage on the NBC evening news. While the ABRAMS LANDAU injury and disability lawyer spends most of his time helping injured cyclists, athletes, workers and their families, his answers to these questions are as follows:
1. If your drivers license is suspended or revoked, you can still ride your bicycle. It is an interesting hypothetical though. What if you continue to accumulate “points” for biking infractions, have no drivers license, can you continue to “bike with impunity” as long as you pay the fines ?
2. No, you are not required to carry your drivers license while biking. While I do carry identification, a few dollars (in case I bonk or need some dough for a date), first aid kit, a cell phone, 3-way wrench or swiss army knife, camera (annoying, I know), and some electrolytes, I do not carry my drivers license (or passport) because I might lose these important documents and no law requires that I maintain them with me while cycling.
3. Reflectors and lights are for riding after sunset and prior to sunrise. If the police or sheriff’s offices start ticketing for not having these items during daylight hours, it would be hard to imagine a Commonwealth’s Attorney taking the case to trial. When I prosecuted cases in Florida for the State Attorney’s Office, I would not have tried such a case. The police, courts and prosecutors have better things to do that pursue daytime reflector and light charges.
Thank you for your questions, comments and suggestions.