A Riverside County jury has found Caltrans at fault for not properly maintaining a desert highway in connection with an auto accident, which disabled Palos Verdes resident, 79-year-old Cletus Schmidt. The jury ordered Caltrans to pay more than $10 million to Schmidt who was severely injured in an accident at the Highway 62/Highway 177 T intersection, east of the Joshua Tree National Park. Our source for this blog was this Sept. 29 article in the Riverside Press-Enterprise ().
The lawsuit stated that Schmidt, who was eastbound on Highway 62 on Jan. 16, 2006, did not see a stop sign and hit an embankment. According to court documents, there had been eight traffic accidents at that same intersection in the 21 months before Schmidt’s accident. However, Caltrans failed to put up proper signs at that location to indicate that the road ended. The California auto accident has rendered Schmidt bedridden. He also requires the use a ventilator.
I’m extremely pleased for the injured victim and his family. We have represented numerous clients who have been injured in California auto accidents, which happened because Caltrans officials did not do their job and maintain the freeways. These highway accident cases against Caltrans are due to the fact that Caltrans does not follow their own rules and procedures, and as a result, motorists suffer injuries and in many cases, death.
The importance of this lawsuit cannot be understated. What these lawsuits do is essentially fix portions of the freeway that were previously hazardous and endangered the lives of California road users. When we represent a client’s case against Caltrans, we know that we are making roads safer for all drivers. Our favorable verdicts force Caltrans to improve highway hazards and prevent these tragic accidents.