A personal injury lawyer who specializes in cycling has relocated his growing firm from Loring Park to Uptown at 1622 W. Lake St., aiming to move closer to the heart of the local cycling community.
“I wanted to try to be a more visible presence, and work in the community that I live,” said Daniel Brazil, who lives a few blocks away in East Calhoun.
In the area of bike law, Brazil initially represented a friend who was bike commuting in a dedicated bike lane when an intoxicated driver pulled out in front of the bike. The cyclist broke a kneecap, and Brazil helped navigate the costs of the ambulance ride, ER, surgery, long rehab, wage loss benefits and eventual settlement.
The City of Minneapolis reports that while pedestrian counts have risen over the past decade, the number of pedestrian crashes has held steady.
Brazil said the most common cause of a crash he sees is inattention.
“That can range from everything from texting to being on the phone to making a turn without looking,” he said.
Five of the crashes he’s handled in the past six months were due to drivers turning in front of bikes properly inside a bike lane, he said.
Cases move quickly if the fault of the accident is clear, Brazil said. Cyclists often hold the burden to ensure they have a thorough police report, photographs of the scene, personal ID and insurance information from the other driver, and immediate witness statements and contact info. In many situations witnesses saw an accident, but no one had their wits about them to take down information, he said.
“The reporting of these accidents is really the most critical part for someone that was injured,” he said.
Anyone injured in an accident should seek immediate medical care, Brazil said. People often don’t notice pain symptoms until adrenaline wears off days later.
Brazil said almost all of his cases are paid on contingency fees, meaning the firm is paid through a settlement by the other driver.
Aside from pedestrian safety, Brazil handles workers’ compensation cases and wrongful death cases like carbon monoxide poisoning.
He’s shared advice at Angry Catfish, sponsored Our Streets Minneapolis and spoken at a Hennepin County panel related to laws that affect pedestrians.
“I’m interested in trying to be part of the solution,” he said.