Recently, the family of a 62-year-old man killed in a San Mateo County crash recovered a judgment of $9.5 million against a driver and the state Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Rather than relying solely on the past history of injuries at the exact intersection where their relative died, they used proof of a similar death at a similar intersection to persuade the jury that Caltrans should have known about the dangerousness of the intersection. The success of this technique, affirmed by the Court of Appeal, demonstrates that there may be more than one way to achieve a successful outcome in your intersection accident case against a governmental entity. Be sure to retain an experienced San Mateo pedestrian accident attorney who can help you explore all your options.
A 62-year-old bicyclist, C.C., was crossing El Camino Real in Atherton on foot when a southbound passenger sedan struck him. C.C. was walking with his bike inside a crosswalk at the time of the accident. The driver never saw C.C. and never hit his brakes. In fact, he was going an estimated 42 mph when he slammed into C.C. and thought a tree branch had fallen on his car. The collision was violent enough that it threw C.C. more than 50 feet and his bicycle more than 70 feet. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The bicyclist’s wife and daughters sued the driver and Caltrans. The crosswalk where C.C. died was unreasonably unsafe, the department should have known it, but did nothing address the dangerous condition, they argued. A jury agreed. After a two-week trial, the jury found the driver 10% at fault and Caltrans 90% responsible. The jury assessed the total damages to be $9.5 million.