Anna Reznik, who was catastrophically injured in a 2009 motor vehicle crash, has settled her lawsuit with the State of California. A state agency, Caltran, will pay her $4.55 million under the terms of the settlement. Monterey County and the estate of the other driver will also contribute to the settlement. Caltrans was sued for maintaining a dangerous roadway over a long period of time. The settlement comes as the start up of construction to correct the safety problems at the interchange where the crash occurred.
Ms. Reznik sued the state and county in 2010, alleging they knew the dangers of the chaotic intersection and did not move quickly enough to remedy a disaster in the making. The California Highway Patrol had called the intersection one of the most dangerous in the county. A Caltrans official has called the crash “a poster child for the kind of accident we’re trying to avoid” with the new interchange. Construction on the interchange will begin by December and is expected to be complete in 2015.
The state was aware of the dangerous crossroad as far back as 1946 and rejected an improvement proposal by Monterey County in 1965. In 1974, after 11 accidents and four deaths at the site over two years, the transportation agencies proposed changes. Now, with 38 years having passed, those changes still hadn’t happened and Ms. Reznik was injured as a result.
Ms. Reznik’s case was settled on the eve of trial. Monterey County, which was sued because it controls San Juan Road, had already settled for $190,000. Caltrans settled a few weeks before the scheduled trial date. The insurer for the Bowman estate settled thereafter for $610,000. Ms. Reznik immigrated to the United States in 1993 from the former Soviet Union, where she was a news reporter, television host and producer for almost 20 years. She had been a caretaker for two elderly women for 15 years. Bores E. Efrom, a lawyer from Menlo Park, Calif., represented Ms. Reznik. He did a very good job for her in this case.
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