A Redwood City woman has filed a lawsuit against Redwood City after suffering severe injuries in a pedestrian accident, which she alleges occurred on a dangerous roadway that city officials have not done much about, the San Francisco Examiner reports. Deborah Jo Iverson was reportedly crossing Woodside Road at Orchard Avenue on April 23 2007 when she was hit by a car.
Although police concluded that the pedestrian accident was driver Raymond Herrera’s fault, Iverson has named Redwood City, the state of California and Caltrans in the lawsuit as well. Iverson filed the lawsuit after the city rejected her claim. The dangerous street in question is a state route maintained by Caltrans.
The city has apparently tried to make improvements on the street including lowering speed limits and installing red light cameras. Over the last four years the article cites at least six pedestrian fatalities on that part of Woodside Road and many others that resulted in critical injuries.
Apparently, the city has a problem with safety on this road, but is captive to the state’s jurisdiction of the highway. It certainly appears to be a dangerous roadway, highly unsafe for pedestrians, according to Iverson and the accident statistics. The agency, which is in charge of maintaining this street – whether it’s the city or CalTrans – should do its job. I would be using the city’s own records of attempts to make the road safer as evidence against CalTrans.
Agencies and government entities often times do not have the internal coordination of all of their knowledge to recognize a dangerous situation, even when they have all the information. Sometimes agency individual employees just don’t see public safety as “their job”. Sometimes well intentioned employees of governmental agencies that attempt to bring about change are discouraged by superiors not to “rock the boat” and initiate changes. Other times it is an allocation of resources issue.
Whatever the cause, the result can mean devastating losses to accident victims and their families. And when the injured resort to lawsuits to bring about change, seek compensation and hold those negligent accountable, cities end up paying millions in judgments and settlements. Sometimes a lawsuit is the most efficient way to bring about safety changes and to “wake up” governmental agencies.
We recently settled a similar dangerous intersection case with the city of Hanford the week before trial. The city dragged its feet in making safe a high traffic school crossing intersection. Their feet dragging cost them $5 million cash to compensate a local teenager who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of an auto accident at the intersection.
It’s time for Redwood City officials to start putting pressure on the relevant state officials and agencies in order to make the subject stretch of Woodside Road safe and to protect the public from further injury.
We are fortunate that our system of laws allows us to bring lawsuits against our government for its negligence, to hold our government accountable for the harm their negligence causes and to bring about change for the public good.