Settlement highlights the fact that the city is responsible for addressing safety hazards.

Victims of LA Pedestrian Accident Receive $15 Million SettlementIf you live or work in the LA area, you know firsthand how busy—and dangerous—some streets and intersections can be. What you may not fully realize is that when the city knows of a dangerous stretch of road and yet does nothing to eliminate or at least mitigate the danger, they may be responsible for the accidents that result from their inaction.

This principle was demonstrated recently in the conclusion of a case in which the family of two girls involved in a tragic pedestrian accident received a $15 million settlement award from the city of Los Angeles.

The two girls, who were biological cousins and adopted sisters, had set out from their home to buy food for their pet fish. About a block away from their home, they were struck in the middle of a marked crosswalk by a Jeep Wrangler.

Witnesses reported that the impact launched the girls about 10 feet. Both girls were rushed to the hospital, but 12-year-old Emely Aleman had suffered fatal injuries and passed away. Her sister, 10-year-old Angela Rodriguez, survived but was left a quadriplegic.

City Well Aware of Dangerous Intersection

In their personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit against the city, the girls’ family argued that the city was liable for the tragic accident because they knew of the dangers posed by the intersection, yet did not correct the problem quickly enough.

The intersection where the accident took place (Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Archwood Street in North Hollywood) had a history of bad accidents. In 2009, there were four reported car accidents, including one involving a bicyclist. This same year, the city submitted plans to improve safety at the intersection by installing a traffic light. However, no action was taken until the summer of 2011. In the mean time, Emely was killed, Angela was severely and permanently injured, and at least three other pedestrian accidents took place at the intersection.

Because of this history, the plaintiffs had a very compelling case for compensation. Ultimately, the city of Los Angeles acknowledged its own liability for the girls’ accident and offered their family $15 million in compensation on December 9 of this year.

According the family’s attorney, a jury might have awarded as much as $50 million. However, it seems that the family preferred to end their ordeal—which had already dragged on for nearly 5 years—by accepting the settlement offer now. Their hope is that the funds will allow Angela to receive care at home rather than in an institution.

Do You Have Questions about City Liability?

If you have been injured in an accident at you believe the city might be liable, you definitely need to retain an experienced attorney who understands these kinds of complex liability issues. You can start the process by calling 909-982-0707 to schedule a free initial consultation with Attorney Vargas.