A California Appeals Court has held that the victims of a pedestrian accident may proceed with their personal injury case against the city. In the case, the plaintiffs had pressed the pedestrian warning beacon at a crosswalk before crossing the street. As they proceeded to travel across the road, they were struck by a driver who did not see the warning beacon or the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs filed suit against the city, claiming that the pedestrian crosswalk was a dangerous condition on public property. The city moved for summary judgment, contending that it was covered by government design immunity. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the city, and the plaintiffs appealed.
California law provides that a public entity may be liable for an injury proximately caused by the dangerous condition of its property if the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury sustained, and the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the condition a sufficient time before the injury to have taken preventative measures. A public entity is not liable, however, if the injury is caused by a plan or design to which the public entity reasonably gave its discretionary approval. In order to establish design immunity, the city must show: (1) a causal relationship between the plan or design and the accident, (2) discretionary approval of the plan or design before the construction or improvement, and (3) substantial evidence supporting the reasonableness of the plan or design.