Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC Articles Los Angeles Dangerous Intersection Accident Verdict

Los Angeles Dangerous Intersection Accident Verdict

By Steven M. Sweat  May. 4, 2016 9:20a

When it comes to dealing with dangerous intersections in the Los Angeles area, drivers and pedestrians each have far too many examples to deal with on a daily basis, which puts their health, as well as their life, at risk.

Getting Justice

The most recent example of this dire situation came on May 2, when a jury awarded $23.7 million to the widow and seven-year-old son of a 59-year-old scientist who was killed while riding his motorcycle to work. While the city indicated that they would appeal, a filing could take as long as 18 months.

The tragedy took place on February 23, 2013, when Thomas Guilmette was headed to his job as a scientist at Northrop Grumman. Driving between 30-35 miles per hour, he came to the corner of Summerland and Cabrillo Avenue at approximately 7:30 a.m, Ramon Nevarez, who was transporting his two granddaughters to school, was waiting at the stop sign on Cabrillo.

Nevarez’s vision was blocked by parked cars, which prevented him from seeing any oncoming traffic on Summerland. Despite moving his vehicle slowly ahead, it was struck on the front end by Guilmette’s motorcycle, with Guilmette killed in the aftermath.

Problems in Evidence

At the time of the accident, there was no stop sign on the Summerland portion of the intersection and no restriction on curb parking. While those issues were rectified following Guilmette’s death, they were just some of the concerns that neighborhood residents had previously brought to the city’s attention.

One of the specific complaints, which was noted by the Guilmette family attorney during the subsequent trial, dealt with the presence of a dangerous blind corner at the intersection. This caused drivers who were making a left turn to inch into oncoming traffic in order to determine if they were able to continue.

Using Cold, Hard Facts

The Guilmette family legal team was able to convince the jury that poor design was the direct cause of the accident and Guilmette’s death. As a result, the city of Los Angeles was found 95 percent liable.

Two key pieces of evidence were offered by the plaintiff's lawyers to aid in that eventual verdict, both instances of the city’s failure to act:

  • In 2001, the city had made the decision to paint corner curbs red at that specific intersection, with more improvement plans added in 2009. Neither of those plans were ever implemented.
  • In 2009, an e-mail to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation from a Los Angeles police officer indicated that present conditions were deemed dangerous. While the city responded 10 days later by taking a survey of the surroundings as well as measurements, a city official in that department indicated that nothing was ever done.

The Most Dangerous Intersections

Just months after Guilmette’s death, one examination of Los Angeles intersections found that 53 of them were considered dangerous. The five most dangerous over the previous five years were:

  • Alvarado Street at Seventh Street: 25 vehicle or pedestrian accidents.
  • Hollywood Boulevard at Highland Avenue: 21 accidents.
  • Western Avenue at Slauson Avenue, Union Avenue at Sixth Street and Spring Street at Fifth Street: 19 accidents each.

Doing the Right Thing

Given this continuing problem, it's important to know what to do should something similar occur to you. Therefore, if you or someone you know has been injured at a Los Angeles intersection, make sure to contact a Los Angeles Motor Vehicle Accident attorney and set up a free consultation.

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