Fatalities Resulting From Lack of Median Barrier

Fatalities Resulting From Lack of Median Barrier

Fatalities Resulting From Lack of Median Barrier

Fatalities Resulting From Lack of Median Barrier

Hi, I’m Ed Smith, a Vacaville auto accident attorney. In the spring of 2008, Pamela Humphrey and her sister-in-law Ann Quinn set out from their hometown of Tucson, intending to take Interstate 10 to Phoenix. Shortly after entering Maricopa County and nearly to their destination, however, some debris appeared on the road ahead of them. Mrs. Humphrey spotted the obstacles with only little time left to make a correction, and she quickly veered toward the unbarriered median. She was not able to bring her vehicle to a stop in the median itself and careened into the southbound section of the interstate. A tractor-trailer moving along I-10 South smashed into Humphrey’s automobile head-on. Neither Humphrey nor Quinn managed to survive the injuries suffered that May.

Families of Victims Pursue Case Against State of Arizona

The families of the two victims decided in the aftermath of the tragedy that they had a case worth pursuing against the State of Arizona: their claim rested on the idea that the State of Arizona had proved negligent because the Arizona State Department of Transportation had failed to erect barriers of any type in the median along that stretch of I-10.

John Leader, the attorney who represented the Humphrey family during the proceedings, says that the families felt their accusation of negligence strengthened after the ADOT proved unresponsive to attempts by some family members to get barriers built after the accident. Leader indicates that such efforts “sort of hit a brick wall” and that the ADOT “didn’t wish to work with [the Humphrey family member]”. The plaintiffs also bolstered their case by pointing to a very similar incident, also resulting in two fatalities, which took place within a mile of the Humphrey crash only nine months before. The families of the victims in the earlier accident also brought suit, and they received nearly $8 million in damages when the trial came to a conclusion in 2012.

Large Sum Verdict Awarded

A Maricopa County jury handed down a decision in the Humphrey case late last year, doling out the responsibility for the accident as eighty-five percent the state’s and only fifteen percent Mrs. Humphrey’s. The verdict dictated a very large sum for the families: $47 million in total, with just over $18 million to be awarded to Humphrey’s surviving husband, nearly $10 million to her son, and $6.26 million to each of Ann Quinn’s three sons (Mrs. Quinn’s husband had died before the trial concluded).

Defendant Responds in Statement

In response to the decision, the ADOT has issued a statement, essentially claiming that the case was a no-win situation for the agency. They point to the above-average width of the median, which was over eighty feet at the location of the May 2008 accident involving Humphrey and Quinn, and note that an analysis by independent researchers has shown that more than ninety drivers forced off of the highway between Tucson and Phoenix over a five-year period were able to successfully use the median space to stop and avoid any collision. If a barrier had been erected, they hypothesize, the possibility for at least some of these safe stops would have been precluded and the ADOT would have been sued for negligence because they did not maintain appropriate median widths. They argue that the jury in the Humphrey case failed to consider that median barriers themselves introduce a new hazard into the situation and are themselves responsible for potentially avoidable automobile collision deaths.

Vacaville Auto Accident and Wrongful Death Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Vacaville auto accident attorney. Both the lack of a median barrier and the presence of one can potentially create a dangerous – even fatal – situation when something unexpected happens on the highway. If you or anyone you know has been involved in such an incident, consider that you may be entitled to significant damage compensation. Please give me, Ed Smith, a call today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for friendly and free advice.

I’ve been helping families with their personal injury and wrongful death claims for 33 years.

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Source of Fatalities Resulting From Lack of Median Barrier – Law Offices of Edward A. Smith

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