Proving that a dangerous crosswalk caused an accident is often a long and difficult legal process which can not only benefit victims, but also lead to improvements/corrections in road conditions that can save lives.
The Los Angeles City Council recently said it would pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man left with permanent brain damage after a crosswalk accident.
On November 18, 2013, the man was hit in a marked crosswalk. As a result of his injuries, he was in a coma for months; now awake, he is permanently incapacitated and unable to work. The man and his mother filed a lawsuit against the negligent driver and the city alleging the intersection was poorly designed, warning signs were obscured, and the traffic laws were not properly enforced.
Although the driver may have been partially at fault, the failure to prevent easily foreseeable accidents is a form of negligence. Motorists have a right to expect that their government won’t allow for dangerous roads to remain accident-prone or even be created. Unfortunately, defects in design or maintenance aren’t usually discovered until someone is seriously injured or killed, or until there is a lawsuit. Other times, such as in this case, dangerous conditions are known, but nothing is done to correct the problem.
Although cases like this can directly force changes that will save lives, it should not take a fatal accident for the government to fulfill its obligation to keep us all safe. Shielding corporations and government entities from liability or damages is not a solution. Holding those who permit dangerous conditions accountable for their actions improves safety, saves lives, and prevents serious injuries and death.
The aforementioned settlement is the latest in L.A. resulting from lawsuits claiming the streets are poorly designed and not properly maintained. Two other recent cases include bicyclists. In one case, the cyclist was paid $6.5 million after suffering injuries caused by a pothole. In the other, a man was left paralyzed after hitting uneven payment, and the settlement was $7.5 million.
If you were a victim of an accident due to a dangerous road condition, consult an experienced attorney to make sure your rights are fully preserved. If waiting out a lengthy process is causing financial distress, consider lawsuit funding.