Palo Alto will pay $400,000 to settle a claim from a 57-year-old woman who suffered brain injuries after being thrown from her bicycle in the 2100 block of Bryant Street in 2008, Interim City Attorney Don Larkin said.
Although she was wearing a helmet, Janet Pierce of Cupertino was injured after her bicycle struck a construction-related steel trench plate. Her original claim was for $1.12 million.
Larkin called the settlement "fair," considering Pierce's injuries and the potential liability to the city should the case have gone to trial.
"We think it's a very fair settlement given the nature of the accident and seriousness of the injuries and the fact that liability is really uncertain," he said.
"The reality is, nobody knows exactly what happened and there would have been experts testifying and it would depend on which experts the jury believed.
"It's fair for us to accept some responsibility, but certainly not the full responsibility," Larkin said.
The accident has prompted the city to add safety precautions around metal plates, he said.