Jury Rules Against Caltrans and Awards Family $9.5 Million
This is not the first jury award against Caltrans for a crosswalk accident. A jury awarded a 17-year old girl, who was struck in a crosswalk and left in a vegetative state, and her family $12.2 million dollars in 2010. This summer, Caltrans lost a lawsuit resulting in a $9.5 million jury award to the family of a 69-year old man who died after a car struck him in a crosswalk. Why did the jury rule against Caltrans?
In the case of the 69-year old man, the jury found Caltrans to be 90 percent at fault for the accident. The jury only assigned 10 percent fault to the driver who struck the pedestrian. The lawsuit alleged that Caltrans was liable because it knew that marked crosswalks without stoplights were more dangerous compared to unmarked stoplights. The crosswalk where the man was struck was marked, but it had no stoplights. A news report states that Caltrans had promised to install pedestrian-activated stoplights but never installed the lights.
According to a person with the attorney’s office for the family, “We presented evidence that marked crosswalks in uncontrolled intersections give pedestrians a false sense of security pedestrians believe that vehicles will yield to them in the crosswalk when, in fact, the drivers of the vehicles may be unable to see the pedestrians due to surrounding traffic. Drivers often can’t see the crosswalk markings.”
Suing a Government Entity
The above jury verdicts are examples of cases where a government entity has been held liable for damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. It is possible to file a lawsuit against a government entity and win; however, it is a large undertaking. Only an experienced attorney understands the differences between suing an individual or company and suing a government entity. For example, you have different notice deadlines when filing an injury claim against a government entity than you do when naming a person or company in your claim. If your attorney does not understand the complexities and laws related to suing a government entity, you could lose your case.
As with other personal injury cases, if you have been injured in an accident caused by a government entity’s negligent or careless act or inaction, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your:
- Medical bills and expenses related to your treatment
- Lost wages, including loss of earning capacity and future lost wages
- Damage to personal property
- Funeral, burial, and cremation expenses, in the event of a wrongful death
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional stress
- Loss of love, companionship, and guidance, in the event of a wrongful death
- Permanent disabilities, scarring, and disfigurement
The amount of compensation you may receive in a personal injury lawsuit depends on several factors, including the type of injury, the severity of the injury, the length of recovery, any permanent disability, and types of damages incurred because of the accident. Our Fresno accident attorneys can provide more information about the value of a claim during your free case evaluation.
Contact a Central California Valley Personal Injury Attorney
The accident lawyers of Torem & Associates offer free legal consultations to accident victims and their families. We want every victim to receive sound legal counsel. It is important that you understand your rights before you discuss your claim with an insurance adjuster.
Contact our office by calling (888) 500-5000 or by using our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.