A motorcycle accident effectively ended the football career of a UCLA offensive lineman seven years ago in California. Amir Ekbatani’s leg was severed when a taxi van driver who failed to yield the right-of-way while making a left turn. The impact of the collision severed the football player’s left leg. He would undergo a total of 13 surgeries and he know walks with a prosthesis. He is fortunate to have emerged from the wreckage with his life.
But now, it’s not just the other motorist whom he blames. It is also the State of California, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road on which the crash occurred. Specifically, he alleges poor road design that made it difficult for the taxi driver to see the plaintiff as he traveled north on the state highway.
There had reportedly been numerous complaints made to the state’s Department of Transportation regarding the condition of the intersection, but the government agency failed to take action, according to the injury lawsuit.
The incident happened on the Pacific Coast Highway. The driver of the taxi alleged that southbound drivers faced an incline that made it “impossible” to view oncoming traffic until motorists were already at the intersection. Plaintiff’s attorney explained drivers don’t see the cross-traffic until they are at the very top of the intersection, and that repaving of the intersection has over time worsened the problem.
Representing the state department of transportation, the deputy attorney general explained to jurors that the state shouldn’t be held liable for injuries resulting from a crash at the intersection because it had been designed many decades ago by Los Angeles County. The state later inherited it. If anyone would be responsible for defective design of the road, it would be the county. Further, the state argues no fatal car accidents have occurred at the intersection since 1996. The state argues it has done everything necessary to make the road safe.
The actual fault, argues the state, is the taxi driver, who allegedly was speeding and dangerously made a sharp turn off the highway and onto a cross street. While he was driving recklessly, the state argues, the motorcyclist wasn’t being defensive. Specifically, he was wearing darker clothes that made it tough to see him at night.
The original complaint by Ekbatani also named the driver’s employer as a defendant, but that claim was later dismissed when the two parties settled out-of-court. Now, the taxi company is pursuing a counter-claim against the state.
Plaintiffs presented depositions from two local residents who had complained to the state about the need for safety changes at the intersection. One of those, an employee of the local library, testified she contacted the mayor’s office after witnessing a number of crashes at that location, imploring him to advocate for a left turn signal at the traffic light.
Another witness explained poor visibility at that intersection was to blame for a crash he was involved in. And there were concerns raised by a number of police officers about the intersection too.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
More Blog Entries:
Report: Truck Accident Risk Rises With $740 Billion Backlog of Road, Bridge Repairs, Nov. 29, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog