A California jury found the city of Sacramento liable and returned an $18 million verdict for not fixing or closing a dangerous crosswalk where a young doctor was struck by a car. The doctor, who was at the top of her residency program, had already authored important cancer research despite her young age. As a result of the accident, Dr. Cathy Liu suffered brain damages and is no longer able to practice medicine.
Dr. Liu, a 26-year-old first-year internal medicine resident, was about halfway across a busy two-lane street when she was struck by a car switching lanes. The intersection, which accommodated 16,000-20,000 vehicles per day in a 30 mph zone, had a crosswalk, but no signals. The intersection was situated in the middle of a big S curve. It was contended the intersection was dangerous and the city knew about it, but failed to either close the crosswalk or put up proper signals.
The city’s own records showed that it had planned to change the intersection since 2001. The main purpose of redesigning the intersection appeared to be to make it safer for pedestrians. A letter from the city’s mayor a year before Dr. Liu’s accident encouraged the state public utilities commission to support the change, saying the redesign would “increase the level of safety for pedestrians” and force traffic to slow down considerably.
A 2002 federal highway administration study found that intersections with more than three lanes that have a marked crosswalk but no signal increases the risk pedestrians will be hit by four and a half times. Another danger of putting the crosswalk at that location was that trees blocked a pedestrian’s ability to see oncoming traffic. The city’s own pedestrian safety standards recommended that any crosswalk in a 30 mph speed limit zone where 15,000 cars passed per day have either a traffic signal or a pedestrian bridge. City engineers testified about their six-year effort to redesign the intersection.
During the trial, the Plaintiff’s attorney and the city agreed to a high-low arrangement that guaranteed $1 million, but capped damages at $6 million. The jury awarded $18 million, but found the city 51 percent at fault, Liu 10 percent at fault and the driver 39 percent at fault. Before the jury returned its verdict, a high-low agreement with the city Defendant was reached. Dugan Barr, of Barr & Mudford in Redding, Calif., represented the Plaintiff and did a very good job.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.