Record $31.5 Million Verdict Against Caltrans

A Superior Court jury in San Bernardino, California awarded a severely injured man and his wife over $31.5 million in a ruling against Caltrans. The jury found that the state agency was responsible for a dangerous roadway condition on a section of California State Route 138 in Pinon Hills, California. As a result, a motorcycle accident occurred on April 29, 2009 at Highway 138 and Mountain Road.

While Mr. Evans was riding his motorcycle eastbound on the highway, he was struck by a vehicle turning left at the intersection. The accident caused severe brain and spinal cord injuries to Mr. Evans. According to a news release from his attorneys, he will require 24-hour nursing care for the rest of his life.

Mr. Evans, his wife, and both Los Angeles County district attorneys, sued the state and Caltran for failing to remedy the dangerous road condition on Route 138. State Route 138 has earned the nicknames “Death Highway” and “Blood Alley” for its numerous hazards to drivers. Caltrans defines the intersection as “skewed.”

The evidence established that Caltrans’ Chief of Operations received a complaint from a local citizen about the intersection a year and a half before the accident. However, despite this complaint, Caltrans took no steps to protect against the dangerous condition, even though 10 previous accidents had occurred at the same location, putting the agency on notice of the dangerous condition.

Mr. Evans’ counsel, Robert A. Parris, stated that “It is important that Caltrans fix problems they know exist. Public safety should be paramount.”

The driver of the other vehicle was also named as a defendant. The jury found Caltrans fifteen percent (15%) at fault and the driver of the other vehicle eighty-five percent (85%) at fault.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident as a result of negligence, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211.