DENVER (KDVR) — An Arapahoe County couple is expected to receive $557,000 from Denver to settle a lawsuit after Eric Szakmary was hit by a Denver Police officer who was texting while driving.
The city council has the settlement on its consent agenda for Monday’s meeting, which means the lawsuit settlement is likely to be approved. The lawsuit was filed by Szakmary and his wife, Kimberly.
The Problem Solvers first reported on the lawsuit earlier this year after Szakmary’s attorney, Scott Smith, complained negotiations with the city had stalled.
“Liability on the case seems very, very clear. And yet the City and County of Denver and the officer that hit my client refuse to accept responsibility for it,” Smith said at the time.
“You’d think if anybody was paying attention to their surroundings, it would be an officer,” said Szakmary, remembering the night of Sep. 17, 2019, when he was hit. The Denver Police Department officer was in a patrol car at the corner of West Colfax Avenue and Mariposa Street.
Officer Jamie Taft received a 33-day suspension after appealing her original 38-day suspension. Her department discipline letter confirmed she pleaded guilty to careless driving on Jan. 27, 2020.
The letter stated: “The city has significant financial exposure arising from any claim which could be filed.”
Szakmary, who was 51 years old at the time, suffered serious injuries, including fractures to two vertebrae and the need for several surgeries after the collision, according to his lawsuit.