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Hit-and-run accident marks Christmas Eve for Seattle bicyclist

For most people, Christmas Eve is a day filled with preparations for holiday events and family gatherings. For one unfortunate Seattle bicyclist, though, Christmas Eve may have been filled instead with physical pain and suffering after an early-morning traffic accident.

According to police, the bicyclist was hit by a Toyota on downtown's James Street at around 2 a.m. on Dec. 24. Although the Toyota drove off without stopping, witnesses were able to give police a license plate number and a description of the car.

Police spotted the Toyota and three men getting out of the vehicle at a home on South Main Street. A spokesman for the police department says that officers observed a broken windshield, the front of the vehicle was damaged.

The department spokesman says authorities suspect that drunk driving may have played a role in the car accident, but the driver claims to have had the right of way at a green light. The bicyclist was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of injuries that may include broken bones and a head injury.

Under Washington law, bicyclists have the same rights as other vehicles on the roadway, so the question of who had the right of way at a traffic signal may make a difference as to whether or not the Toyota driver is liable for the bicyclist's injuries. However, if it turns out that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, the bicyclist may have a strong case for holding the driver responsible for covering the costs of medical bills, lost wages, property damages and compensation for pain and suffering.

Source: The Seattle Times, "Hit and run driver strikes bicyclist in downtown Seattle this morning," Jennifer Sullivan, Dec. 24, 2012

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