Driving around the roadways in California involves putting your trust in the people who are charged with maintaining the roadways. In California, the Department of Transportation, which is commonly dubbed Caltrans, is charged with that task. A woman who was traveling with her grandchildren in 2012 was in an accident that ended with her vehicle being pierced by a guardrail. She exercised her right to seek compensation for the catastrophic injuries her two grandchildren suffered.
The lawsuit asserted that Caltrans was negligent because the emergency shoulder curb that was in front of the guardrail was too far from the guardrail. The lawsuit brought up a Caltrans requirement that dates back to 1971, which states that these curbs must be no more than 2 inches away from the guardrail.
The accident occurred when a tire on the woman’s minivan blew out. Her minivan hit that emergency shoulder curb and flew atop the guardrail. The guardrail broke and pierced the vehicle. The subsequent injuries left her grandson a quadriplegic and her granddaughter seriously injured.
Ultimately, the jury that heard the case didn’t side with the woman. The jurors found that the placement of the curb, which has been in the current location for 30 years, didn’t present a hazard to drivers.
Interestingly, the jurors had to take considerable time to consider the verdict. This goes to show you that if you suffer injuries in an accident that might have been caused by negligence that you must carefully consider how the jury might view each point in your case so that you can decide how to present crucial points.
Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune, “In West Covina crash that left boy a quadriplegic, Caltrans cleared of wrongdoing,” April 06, 2016