Crosswalk Removal Criticized by Sacramento Community
I’m Ed Smith, a pedestrian accident lawyer in Sacramento. On January 31, two people, an elderly woman of 71 and small child, age 6, were injured critically in Sacramento by a driver at the corner of Oregon Drive and Freeport Boulevard, who fled the scene. The driver of the vehicle that struck the two pedestrians is in the custody of the police after turning himself in. He has been charged with hit and run, which is a felony. The crosswalk removal at this dangerous intersection is being strongly criticized by those who live in the community.
Reason for Removing the Crosswalk Markings
According to a city spokesman, the city could not afford to add a traffic signal at that intersection because they cost at least half a million dollars. Officials said that having a crosswalk at an intersection such as this one, where high-volume traffic occurs, may give walkers a sense of security that is false, leading to pedestrian accidents. This is despite the fact that, even without signals, traffic is obligated to stop for walkers under state law.
Study Show that Crosswalks Save Lives
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 42 percent of pedestrian deaths happen when crossing a street without a crosswalk. In a 2006 study, in addition to those killed where no crosswalk was available, another 21 percent died even if a crosswalk was available, but the pedestrian chose not to use it. Only 9 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred within the crosswalk. In 2006, more than three times as many walkers died while not using a crosswalk.
Adding Less Costly Warning Features
The WALKSacramento executive director, Kirin Kumar, pointed out that the city could have installed safety measures that were less expensive at the location. This could include bulb-outs to shorten the distance crossing the street or safety islands. Some local residents suggested the addition of a red light beacon, allowing the walker to push a button to warn approaching traffic. The response from officials in Sacramento was that a crosswalk was dangerous in areas of high-volume traffic without safety enhancements. The decision to remove the crosswalk was made following a complaint from a local resident that the intersection was dangerous. Local residents disagree, saying that the crosswalk removal was done with little notice. One resident was reported as saying that the city had failed in its duty.
Pedestrians May Continue to Cross at Oregon and Freeport
Pedestrians may legally cross over at all intersections, even if crosswalks or safety measures are not present. The problem with the intersection at Oregon and Freeport is that there are no other crosswalks anywhere nearby. The closest crosswalks that contain signals are located south and north and are at least 720 feet away.
Statute of Limitation for Injuries on Public Properties
Under the California Tort Claims Act section, 911.2, an injury or death claim against a public entity must be filed within six months. The only exception is in the case of medical negligence if the injury is discovered at a later date. If the individual does not file within the allotted time, he or she loses the ability to sue the government entity for compensation. The government entity has up to 45 days to respond to the claim. If the claim is denied, the injured person has six months from the postmark on the response to file a lawsuit. Because the time involved in the statute of limitations is so short, it is important to begin action as quickly as possible.
Proving Negligence in a Public Entity Case
Negligence on a public property in a public entity case cannot be claimed if the condition that caused the injury is trivial. For this reason, it is important to rely on an injury lawyer with experience in government entity claims. It must be shown that a dangerous condition existed in order to proceed. In the above example, it may be shown that the city was negligent in not informing residents that the crosswalk had been removed and that other crosswalks with traffic lights were too far away to provide convenient access. Since other methods could have been used to provide more protection for local pedestrians in the area, the city was negligent in not considering and using other options. Since crosswalks have been proven to save lives, the city negligently removed the existing crosswalk at Freeport and Oregon. In presenting a case against a government entity, the following must be proven:
- The entity against which the claim is made owns or controls the property on which the injury occurred.
- At the time of the accident injury, the property was in a dangerous condition.
- The risk of an injury on the property existed in advance.
- The entity owning or controlling the property was aware of the danger and had sufficient time to correct it.
- The dangerous condition was caused through omission or a wrongful act.
Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a pedestrian accident lawyer in Sacramento. A motor vehicle collision with a pedestrian can have tragic consequences, resulting in devastating injuries or the death of your loved one. If this happened to your family, please phone (916) 921-6400 for friendly advice, free of charge. My toll-free line is at (800) 404-5400, or you are welcome to access the contact form at my website, AutoAccident.com.
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It has been my honor to have served in Northern California, including Sacramento, for over 35 years to recover fair compensation in cases such as brain injuries and loss of a loved one through wrongful death.
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