The “Y” shaped intersection near Chalome claims another life after an accident Wednesday, July 7, 2019, around 10 p.m. At the intersection where California Highways 41 and 46 come together and form a Y has been the site of numerous deadly and serious accidents over the years.
According to the California Highway Patrol, a Honda Odyssey was traveling eastbound on Highway 46, and a Ford F-150 was traveling westbound on the same road. At the intersection, the Odyssey began a left turn and failed to see the F-150, and the two vehicles struck head-on.
A passenger of the pickup truck died of his injuries and eight others were injured, two critically. An unconfirmed report says that at least one of the seriously injured was airlifted to the hospital and several others taken by ambulance.
Dangerous Road Designs
Accidents happen for many reasons, and sometimes the design of the road is a contributing factor. So, who is responsible when a crash happens caused in part by a poor design?
The answer is a bit complicated, but in any claim for injuries from an auto accident, the injured person has to prove negligence on the part of the one believed to be at fault. In a typical accident, there are two drivers and one is at fault. The other driver will get compensation for all injuries sustained in the accident.
If the design of the road is in question, then the victim would need to sue whichever government department or level is in charge of the road. But is that possible?
All governments in California (state, cities, counties) have immunity from lawsuits. This is a doctrine called sovereign immunity which basically means you can’t sue the king. All 50 states have such laws, and all states have some exceptions to this law.
California passed the Torts Claims Act years ago which allowed certain lawsuits against the state. One of them was a suit for negligence where someone was injured, and if the state was negligent in the design of the road, then they can be sued.
So, what if the road was poorly designed, but the other driver ran a red light or failed to yield to the right-of-way?
California is a comparative fault state, so liability can be apportioned to more than one person or entity. Because of this, it is conceivable that the state could be found partially to blame and then have to pay a percentage of the compensation to the victim.
For example, if a driver fails to yield to the right-of-way and injures someone in another car, the injured person could sue the state and the other driver for damages. Then if the jury finds that the state is partially (or even fully) responsible, then the state will have to pay its share.
Do I Need an Attorney to Sue California?
While there is no rule that says you have to have an attorney, there are certain deadlines and rules and limitations when the state is being sued. You should at least talk to an attorney before you consider making a claim against the state.
At Maison Law, we have the knowledge, experience and passion to help you get the compensation you deserve when you are injured by the negligence of another driver or the government. Contact Maison Law at 559-203-3333 to talk to an attorney who can give you the peace of mind that your case is being competently and professionally handled so you can focus on your recovery.