Whenever there’s an accident, people have a strong need to find out why it happened. When a person is injured or property is damaged, determining who is responsible becomes an important goal. If a pedestrian accident victim dies, the surviving family’s need to hold accountable anyone and everyone who is proven to be liable often becomes crucial to their recovery.
In 2011, a 6-year-old on her way to school was killed in a California crosswalk. Her mother and siblings saw it happen. Witnessing the death of her daughter, the woman claims the emotional pain and suffering she experiences is ongoing. In 2012, she and the child’s father sued the city charging the municipality with maintaining the public property in a dangerous condition. The city’s alleged negligence inflicted emotional distress upon plaintiffs according to the complaint.
The driver in the auto-pedestrian accident reportedly told police the sun glare on her windshield blinded her. She was not charged, nor is the elementary school teacher part of the settlement.
Court documents show the parties settled the lawsuit for $125,000. Reports in 2010 indicated the intersection where the little girl died had four pedestrian accidents between 2005 and 2009. Safety rankings of the California Office of Traffic Safety put the defendant third out of 97 cities in the state with like population in a number of pedestrian accidents – with the first being the worst. Recommendations were made to improve visibility, install crosswalk enhancements and other safety measures at the intersection. The City Council voted not to add a stop sign, but did approve LED flashers and pavement warnings to alert drivers to reduce speed.
The city is also named in a cross-complaint filed by the driver, claiming it was partially responsible for the accident.
Each circumstance involving an accident is different. Victims and families deserve an approach to recovery based on individualized evaluation of their needs. But the common thread is that they are entitled to seek compensation from all who are proven to be responsible for their loss. A thoughtful approach to this task can help provide the result leading to recovery.
Source: Palo Alto Weekly, “Settlement reached in death of East Palo Alto child” Sue Dremann, Apr. 09, 2014