Desi Hotchkiss, 49, a Laguna Beach resident, was seriously injured in a sport utility vehicle versus pedestrian accident after she was struck down crossing the street at the intersection of Aster and Cliff Drive. According to this article the North Laguna crosswalk collision happened Sept. 9 near the Coast Highway.
Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Jason Kravetz said Hotchkiss suffered head injuries and broken bones in her upper body. She was taken to Mission Trauma Center and is said to be in stable condition. Laura Downing, 44, the driver of a 2008 Porsche Cayenne SUV is believed to be responsible for the accident and for not yielding to a pedestrian crossing in a marked crosswalk. Officials say Downing of Huntington Beach was traveling northbound on Cliff Drive and she was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred.
I wish Desi Hotchkiss the very best and hope she has a speedy recovery. I’m so relieved she was able to escape from such a terrible crash.
Based on this news report, it certainly seems that Downing will be held responsible for the accident and the injuries caused to Hotchkiss. There could have been any number of reasons why Downing struck the pedestrian. She could have been traveling at a high rate of speed and could not stop in time. She may have missed seeing the pedestrian crossing the street because she was distracted.
If I were representing the accident victim in this case, I would also look into whether there was a dangerous roadway condition such as a visual obstruction (shrubbery, trees or poles) that prevented the driver from seeing the pedestrian. Hotchkiss’ family would be well advised to consult an experienced Orange County pedestrian accident attorney, who will accurately determine the parties that can be held responsible. I think it is extremely unfortunate that Hotchkiss, who acted responsibly and with due diligence by crossing the street in a marked crosswalk, had to suffer this injury crash. She deserves to be rightfully compensated.
Remember, if Downing does not have sufficient insurance then Hotchkiss may be covered under her own auto insurance policy’s “uninsured” or “underinsured” motorist coverage. Also, any California claim against a governmental agency (for a dangerous roadway) must be correctly filed within 180 days of the incident.