In today’s fast-paced society, many Missouri and Illinois residents are aware of the numerous dangers that can come from driving on American roadways. These dangers run the gamut from speeding drivers, to sharing the roads with excessively large vehicles like semi-trucks, to streets that are designed in an unsafe manner, just to name a few. Running into risks like these can be dangerous enough for those who are enclosed in vehicles which offer a layer of protection in the form of steel. For pedestrians walking on the sidewalks and crossing city streets, these risks can prove debilitating, and lead to the necessity of consulting with a personal injury attorney to seek financial restitution to cover medical and other related expenses.
Those who rely on sidewalks and crosswalks to navigate the community in which they live depend upon the cities and towns who design these items to do so in a safe and responsible manner. In cases where design flaws that put lives in danger are revealed, we expect those in charge to take steps to make us safer. But what happens when a city and transportation department who clearly knew just how dangerous a particular crosswalk has proven do not act quickly enough to protect pedestrians from catastrophic injury? One recent case from another state showed that such communities have a duty to protect pedestrians when they have demonstrated knowledge of increased danger to those using poorly-designed crosswalks.
City Held Liable for Pedestrian Injured by Unsafe Crosswalk Design
The court case centered around a crosswalk in the city of Sacramento, California, and the severe injuries suffered by a pedestrian who was hit by a car. The 25-year-old woman had been using the crosswalk to get across a two-lane road that was also one-direction only. According to evidence presented at trial, there were at least two particular dangers to pedestrians in this crosswalk. One was that a curve in the road where the crosswalk was positioned made it challenging for motorists to see pedestrians. Additionally, a tree growing close to the crosswalk made it equally difficult for pedestrians to see oncoming vehicles.
These dangers acted as a “perfect storm” in the woman’s situation, leading to her being struck by an approaching vehicle. The car accident injured her significantly, leading to partial paralysis along with cognitive difficulties. The woman’s head was slammed against the car’s windshield after she was thrown up and onto the vehicle’s hood. A jury found in the woman’s favor after she sued both the city and state, and awarded her $18 million in damages, although she is expected to see a smaller amount due to an agreement between all the parties involved.
While this amount will likely be enough to cover her medical and other related expenses, no amount of money can take away the fact she will struggle with her cognitive trouble and partial paralysis for the rest of her life. This case seems particularly tragic when considering the fact that evidence showed that the department of transportation clearly had knowledge of the dangers posed by the crosswalk. Additionally, reports indicated that the city was in the process of planning a redesign of that part of the roadway and crosswalk. In fact, contractors were in the process of bidding on the redesign project when the 25-year-old woman suffered her severe injuries. One thing that isn’t clear is why the city chose not to close the crosswalk during this time, when they apparently knew just how dangerous it was for pedestrians.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration previously announced that it planned to propose changes in regulations that would encourage the redesign of vehicle hoods and bumpers intended to decrease the severity of injuries suffered by pedestrians when hit by vehicles. Some experts say that this is only one small step that should be taken in an overall goal to increase pedestrian safety. Considering that pedestrians can be seriously hurt or killed even when vehicles are traveling at a relatively low speed, it seems clear that the sidewalks and crosswalks upon which they travel should be designed in as safe a manner as possible.
Pedestrians – or Surviving Family Members – Injured by Unsafe Crosswalks May Take Action
Those who have been injured in a pedestrian accident in Missouri or Illinois — or their surviving family members in the case of a fatal collision — have the right to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in a civil court to seek financial restitution. While nothing can bring a lost loved one back or take away the injuries that have been suffered, any financial damages awarded by a judge or jury can alleviate the financial strain a family is going through after such a crash. This can also send a message to those responsible for crosswalk design and safety that they must take steps to increase pedestrian safety when they have clear knowledge of the risk to those who use any such dangerous crosswalks.
Please contact my St. Louis personal injury law firm as soon as possible to discuss the facts of your specific case and whether I can help you. As a personal injury attorney with decades of experience fighting for the rights of people just like you, I make it my goal to help victims of pedestrian and other car accidents fight for the justice they deserve. You can call my personal injury law firm toll-free at 1-888-586-7041 in order to schedule a free consultation at your earliest convenience. This meeting will be absolutely free of charge to you, and if you decide to hire my law firm and I take your case, you will only pay any fees in the event I am successful in either settling or litigating your case. You can increase your case’s chance of success by acting as quickly as possible to preserve potential evidence, so please consider contacting me as soon as possible.
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