Occasionally, a person is injured severely in a motor vehicle collision and the at fault party does not have enough insurance.
When that happens, a good personal injury lawyer will look for potentially at fault parties to make sure that the injured person is made whole. Sometimes, the poor design of the road itself may be a contributing factor to the injuries.
ACTUAL CASE 1
Carrie C was coming home from work one evening. She worked as a food checker at a grocery store and was driving a new VW Bug. She was talking on her cell phone while driving southbound on I5 near Burlington, WA.
Gayle T was driving her VW Jetta northbound on I5 at the same time. Gayle was tired after a long day of work and was looking forward to joining her family in Vancouver, BC for the weekend. Suddenly Gayle lost control of her car. She claims that another car cut her off in traffic. Gayle’s car careened through several lanes and entered the grassy median which separates the northbound from the southbound lanes of I5.
A steel cable held by posts was designed to stop cars from crossing the grassy median. Gayle’s car drove over one of the steel posts and the cable caught underneath the hood of Gayle’s car. Gayle’s car entered into the southbound lane of I5 and stopped for a moment. Her headlights were destroyed by the cable. She faced north in the southbound lane.
Carrie did not see Gayle’s car in the southbound lane until it was too late to stop. She screamed and threw her cellphone into the back seat and slammed on her brakes. A moment later Carrie’s car collided nearly head on with Gayle’s car. Carrie’s car came to a dead stop; a moment later she was struck hard from behind by the following car.
Carrie was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries. She lost the tip of one of the fingers on her right hand. Her shoulder had been fractured and she needed extensive surgery to save her arm and elbow. A Harborview orthopedic surgeon recalled in a later deposition that reconstructing Carrie was one of the most difficult surgeries she had ever performed.
Mike Maxwell sued Gayle. He also hired an accident reconstruction expert who informed him that the steel cable was not up to the job. Mike then sued the State of Washington Department of Transportation for failing to make a safe highway.
Both defendants realized that it would be in their best interest to settle. The parties scheduled mediation, and Carrie was made whole without having to go to trial.
ACTUAL CASE 2
Robert G was an orchard worker in Bridgeport, Washington. He and friends drove motorcycles on a gravel pit owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Robert did not know that the WSDOT had strung a piece of steel cable between two blocks of concrete about a 1/4 mile into the gravel pit entrance road. This cable was impossible to see, and Robert struck it while accelerating to an estimated speed of 40 mph. He was thrown from the motorcycle and lost consciousness a few minutes later. He died within an hour of internal bleeding from the blow.
Mike Maxwell represented Robert’s Estate in a lawsuit against the State of Washington Department of Transportation for erecting the cable on the road, a dangerous condition without posting warnings. The State of Washington denied all liability, and tried unsuccessfully to have Robert’s case dismissed on a variety of grounds. After losing all motions to dismiss , the parties prepared for trial. On the eve of trial, the State settled all claims.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured, you need an attorney who has the experience and creativity to find a responsible party who can compensate you for your injuries. Consider calling Maxwell Graham, P.S. for a free consultation. (206) 527-2000.
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