Negligent, careless, and reckless drivers are the leading reason for traffic collisions. Defective vehicles and parts also cause a considerable number of accidents. In California, when you are injured because a motorist was negligent or because a vehicle or a part was defective, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver or the negligent vehicle or parts manufacturer.
But what if a poorly constructed road or poor road conditions cause a collision that injures you? Sometimes governments or government agencies may be held liable for a poor street design, negligent or careless construction, or a failure to keep streets maintained and safe.
On May 9, 2014, Los Angeles Police Detective Ernest Allen, Sr., a 27-year-veteran of the LAPD, was killed when a cement truck lost its brakes on Loma Vista Drive, picked up speed, left the road at a sharp curve, and crushed the detective’s personal pickup truck.
The cement truck operator, Brandon Cascio, is now in a persistent vegetative coma. Only a week earlier, on May 2, another cement truck lost its brakes on Loma Vista Drive, and that driver, Eric Johnson, was also seriously injured.
WHY HAVE CRASHES ON LOMA VISTA DRIVE BEEN UNAVOIDABLE?
The City of Beverly Hills has known for decades that Loma Vista Drive has unusually steep and long grades that constitute a clear danger to anyone in the vicinity. Drivers must work their brakes constantly while driving downhill on Loma Vista Drive, and some vehicles’ brakes are inevitably going to fail.
When a vehicle as heavy as a cement truck becomes a “runaway” vehicle moving downhill, the vehicle eventually reaches a speed that prevents the driver from negotiating that last sharp curve to the right on Loma Vista. A crash becomes unavoidable.
City workers, traffic experts, and local residents have been telling the City of Beverly Hills for nearly fifty years that substantial changes to Loma Vista Drive were absolutely imperative.
Over the decades, as accidents have continued on Loma Vista Drive, the City of Beverly Hills has aggressively fought against lawsuits filed by injured drivers and passengers.
The City has sometimes claimed immunity and has even contended that truck drivers are at fault for accidents on Loma Vista because they could have taken another route.
WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME OF BRANDON CASCIO’S CASE?
Brandon Cascio, Eric Johnson, and the family of Detective Ernest Allen jointly entered into a lawsuit against the City of Beverly Hills. Mr. Cascio was represented by Pasadena personal injury attorney Greg Vanni of Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell, and the case was settled early in May, just several days before a trial was slated to begin.
Mr. Vanni and attorneys for Mr. Johnson and the Allen family recovered for their clients a $32.5 million settlement from the City of Beverly Hills.
If you’re injured in a crash caused by poor road construction or poor road conditions, let a personal injury attorney at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell review the conditions that led to the crash, determine what governmental body or agency may be liable, and fight aggressively for justice on your behalf.
In such circumstances, do not speak to an insurance adjuster, accept a settlement, or sign any insurance papers before retaining the counsel of an experienced Pasadena personal injury attorney at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell.