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Los Angeles City Council Gives Family of Deceased Motorcyclist $1.15 Million

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By: Staff Writer

The Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously to give $1.15 million to the family of a motorcyclist who died after he was struck by a Los Angeles city employee, who was reportedly driving a city vehicle at the time of the accident. According to an article on CBS’ Web site, 26-year-old Mgrdich Hovsep Fidanian of Glendale was traveling south on Barham Boulevard on Oct. 13, 2005 when he was hit by a car that was turning left into a store driveway.

Fidanian’s parents and siblings filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angles stating that the driver of the car, who worked in the city’s finance department, used his car as a “city mileage vehicle” and was driving the car within the scope of his job as a city employee, according to the CBS news report.

Another aspect of this lawsuit was the issue of the “dangerous road condition” on Barham Boulevard. The family claimed in its lawsuit that the roadway was perilous for drivers and commuters because of trees, signs and elevations, which hampered the view of motorists. The lawsuit also argued that the posted speed limit on Barham Boulevard was too high given all these dangerous conditions. At the time of the crash, Fidanian was driving over the brow of the hill at the top of Barham Boulevard and through two sets of traffic lights, the CBS article said.

Studies about motorcycle accidents by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, show that three-fourths of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle, most often passenger vehicles. There could be several reasons for the crash including a defective motorcycle, defective parts, negligence on the part of the other driver and as in this case, dangerous conditions on the roadway. According to an NHTSA bulletin, poor road design and maintenance are a common contributor to motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities.

In California, especially in Los Angeles and Orange counties, we see that debris on the road and roadside objects also cause serious or fatal injuries to motorcyclists. If a motorcyclist crashes and as a result gets injured or dies in that crash because of a dangerous roadway, then the city or municipality is often held liable.

In this particular case, the Los Angeles City Council did the right thing by awarding the family of the deceased motorcyclist the compensation they rightfully deserve. What the city had to do was quite clear-cut in this case especially because a city employee was behind the wheel of a city-owned vehicle when he hit the motorcyclist.

Hopefully, the city’s decision will help provide some closure to the family and help them move on with their lives.

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