Photo by Chris Kessler
If lawyer Daniel Goldberg had his way, he’d wear spandex shorts and a moisture-wicking shirt to work.
But he works in two worlds – one with his sports-minded bicyclist clients and another with the city’s buttoned-up legal community – so he’s stuck in a tailored dress suit.
Even still, from his modest Bayside law office (where he’s worked in private practice since 1998), this hard-hitting injury lawyer represents a client list that’s about one-third bicyclists. He works for those hurt in accidents that range from collisions with automobiles to run-ins with dogs. “It’s the same accident every time,” he says. “The bike T-bones the dog.” And the cyclist tumbles over the handlebars. If injured, the person can file a claim with the owner’s home insurance.
Others are hurt when they slam into open car doors (“dooring” accidents). And still more lose their balance pedaling over a pothole or missing sewer grate, sustaining a costly injury and resolving to collect from the landowner or relevant unit of local government.
The possibilities are endless. “I’ve actually represented a cyclist who collided with another cyclist, and another who collided with a runner,” he says.
Goldberg grew up in a bike-happy family. “We did a trip once where we took the train to La Crosse and rode our bikes back to Milwaukee,” he says. And as a student at Nicolet High School, he worked after-school jobs at a handful of bike-repair shops, learning the trade.
Most of his cases settle before going to trial, such as one he brought against Milwaukee County in the 1990s, which involved a woman who broke her pelvis when her bike slid out in a county park. Walking into the judge’s chambers to debate whether his client’s bike ride was for recreation or transportation, he saw a heartening sight. The judge, whom Goldberg declines to identify, “had his bicycle leaning up against the wall.”
Goldberg won. “We sought and received reimbursement of [the woman’s] medical expenses,” plus more in damages.
He’s seen enough to be wary and to recommend that other people are, too. “You can’t just ride down the road like you’re a little kid anymore,” he says.