A Presumed Liability law would help ensure that drivers who injure people walking, biking, or using wheelchairs are held accountable. Better still, it would help prevent these collisions.
Morgan Scherer was injured when a driver failed to stop for her as she rode a bicycle through a marked crosswalk. Although state law is fairly clear on this duty, the police ticketed Morgan and the driver’s insurer refused to admit liability.
Morgan’s case went to trial, but a King County jury found that the driver used ordinary care in failing to stop and was therefore not negligent. A presumed liability law could have helped, particularly if it had motivated the driver to stop.
Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury in this crash. Here, we are republishing, with Morgan’s permission, a remarkably gracious and accepting glimpse into how much this collision continues to affect her.
I biked to Golden Gardens today to try out a kayak. It turns out the owner of the kayak is someone I knew from 25 years ago when I was racing. Apparently, I knew him rather well. He reminded me that we drove the kayak club’s racing boats from Seattle to Sacramento together when I was 18 or 19. He taught me how to drive with a trailer. He vividly recalled that I consistently refused to start the car until he put his seatbelt on, which was annoying since I was a kid telling him what to do.
I can totally see myself doing that, and am delighted with my chutzpah. I also remember his advice about backing up with a trailer, “Just try not to have to back up”, though I don’t remember he was the one that gave it. In fact, I have literally no memory of the trip. I don’t remember driving down together, though he assures me we had fun and listened to a lot of great music, which seems plausible. I don’t even remember that the trip happened at all.
Even stranger, I don’t remember driving the trailer home again from California. He flew home, and I apparently drove home alone, so I can’t say whether I had fun. I still love driving trips to California though, so it was probably fine.
It all sounded like me, and seemed plausible given what I remember of what I was doing and involved with at that time. But his stories sparked no reflection in me, except for the one vague and disconnected recollection…
It’s quite startling. Either he is remembering the wrong person, or I have completely lost some big memories. I think the latter is true, because this is not the first time this has come up. After my brain injury we drove through the redwoods on Hwy 101 in California. I know for sure I’ve been there many times in the past, but everything was unreasonably and eerily unfamiliar.
I have been assured by doctors that my brain injury and subsequent epilepsy probably has not damaged my long-term memory storage. However, there have been several times when, after a seizure, I have been unable to recall a childhood memory that I had recounted to Sofia in the week prior to the seizure.
Once the memories are gone, they seem totally gone. Listening to his stories, I could imagine the trip. It all sounded like me, and seemed plausible given what I remember of what I was doing and involved with at that time. But his stories sparked no reflection in me, except for the one vague and disconnected recollection about backing the trailer.
I feel….grateful, mostly. Certainly it is surreal. When I look back, my life seems full of blank spots. I am grateful when someone fills me in on the stories of my life. Grateful that I have been friends with many people who remember fun and astonishing things we have done together. Now, though I don’t remember the events my friend remembers, I do remember kayaking in the sun today, hearing his stories of the events. What a gift.