Tragedy – Changes in Wind Direction

One of the most interesting cases that I have read in the last couple of years occurred in Los Angeles. This case presents a lesson in how issues of liability can change even though the facts themselves do not change.

It involved a young lady about 20 years old. She was crossing the street in Los Angeles, CA in an attempt to board a bus. As she was running across the street, she was hit by a car operated by the defendants. According to the facts, it was a dark and rainy night. The police reported that she ran across three lanes of traffic against the light when she saw her bus approaching the bus stop. She missed catching the bus and instead a car struck her. The police report had her responsible for the incident.

The facts of the accident set out to describe three things: 1) First, the victim’s liability for running across the street against the light, in the rain, and apparently out of the crosswalk. 2) Secondly the police confirmed that initially, it was the fault of the victim, so she ‘caused’ her own injuries by her action. 3) Thirdly, there was a dramatic shift in liability. They are the same facts but we can see how liability is such a fleeting concept.

Nelson and Natale established that the defendant was traveling at a speed unsafe for the conditions and failing to exercise the heightened level of care that was necessary to proceed through dark and rainy weather as the defendent approached the intersection. The bus stop was located in a dangerous spot. Any passengers in an attempt to board the bus would have to approach the stop in a fashion that would have exposed them to the dangers of being seriously injured, by passing vehicles. By adding that to the addition of the darkness and the rainy weather, we have a substantial danger that a potential bus passenger could not avoid. Nelson and Natale had a further theory that the driver should have easily spotted the potential injured plaintiff even under these conditions. The injury to our victim resulted in fractures, and bruises. It is interesting to see how the case moved on to a Settlement. Prior to settlement were Depositions skillfully handled by Nelson and Natale and set the case up for TRIAL.

This is like many of the cases that Nelson & Natale will take on and represent where liability is poor. Many of which offer a real challenge to prove liability on the part of the defendant through skillful lawyering. It goes to show the potential of a case with substantial injuries, although liability is challenging, with top notch lawyering, excellent results are a real possibility. The saying goes, when it comes to lawyering, ‘YOU CAN ONLY BE A WINNER BY CHOOSING A WINNER.’  NELSON & NATALE