AgnewBrusavich Obtains Settlement for Fatal Bicycle Accident with Commitment for Safety Improvements to High-Risk Intersection

AgnewBrusavich obtained a settlement against the State of California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and The City of Newport Beach for a bicycle-vehicle accident that resulted in the death of 58-year-old Debra Deem on August 27, 2013. As an integral part of the settlement negotiated by lead attorney Bruce Brusavich, the City of Newport Beach agreed to work with traffic safety experts selected by Mr. Brusavich and Paul Deem, Ms. Deem’s widower, to implement improvements to the intersection with the cooperation of Caltrans.

Although Caltrans and the City of Newport Beach initially denied liability and blamed the 89-year-old driver who struck Ms. Deem and who was criminally prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter, Mr. Brusavich argued that the “free right turn” at the intersection caused driver confusion and was the cause of the fatal incident. In addition to a cash settlement of $450,000 paid by the State and $225,000 by the City, Mr. Brusavich insisted on a commitment by Caltrans and the City to work in good faith to improve the dangerous intersection. The driver of the vehicle which struck Ms. Deem had already paid his insurance policy limits of $108,500.

After the settlement, a report was released based on a study conducted by the Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans, examining 37 miles of Pacific Coast Highway. Among the dangerous locations identified was the intersection where Ms. Deem lost her life.

Paul Deem is a United States Olympic cyclist and world record holder. Improving the intersection to prevent future cycling injuries or deaths is of paramount importance to him.



    The entire AgnewBrusavich team took over everything and were a tremendous help. The insurance company was dealt with, the settlement was received, and I was very pleased with the results. I would not hesitate to recommend AgnewBrusavich to anyone.

    - David H.

    The team at Agnew Brusavich cannot come more highly recommended. If you should have some sort of personal injury case, particularly if you are a cyclist, I cannot think of a better team to handle a personal injury case.

    - E.H.

    Gerry and the rest of the AgnewBrusavich staff certainly delivered on their promises. I would not hesitate to recommend Gerry Agnew to anyone—he and his firm know exactly what they are doing, and take the time to do the very best job they can for the

    - Geoffrey L. (Member of Big Orange Cycling Club)

    Agnew and Brusavich helped me so much after an injury from a car accident. I was shaken up from the experience but they made me feel so comfortable and truly showed they cared about my case.

    - N.B.

    I was referred to Agnew Brusavich, and after meeting with Gerry I felt much better. He and his team handled all the communication between the insurance companies and opposing attorneys and kept me up-to-date throughout the process.

    - John P.

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