Seattle’s roads are diverse. Cars, trucks and SUVs share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. Usually this waltz of traffic carries on safely, a symphony that brings goods to stores and people to work and back. But occasionally someone will hit a false note, causing the symphony to temporarily collapse into chaos.
Consider, for example, a 2014 accident between a bicyclist and a semitrailer. The bicyclist was in a crosswalk when a semitrailer trying to turn right struck him. Following the accident, the bicyclist sued Seattle, arguing that the city was responsible because bridge columns supporting the Spokane Street Viaduct had blocked the trucker’s view, causing him not to see the bicyclist.
A jury recently heard the case, concluding that the city was primarily at fault. Specifically, the jury found that the city was about 60 percent responsible while both the trucker and the cyclist were each about 20 percent at fault.
The city’s attorney continues to say that the city was not responsible and that it would consider appealing. But for now, the city is on the hook for $1.6 million.
As this case demonstrates, the responsible party is not always obvious. Sometimes it is neither of the people in the accident. Sometimes it is a city or business whose negligence laid the groundwork for the accident to happen.
Because figuring out who is responsible can be trickier than it may seem, Washingtonians may benefit from speaking about their situation with an experienced auto-pedestrian accident attorney, someone who knows the law and the process that the Washingtonian is about to go through. One conversation could make all the difference.
Source: The Washington Times, “Seattle owes cyclist hit by semitrailer $1.6 million,” Dec. 20, 2016