Case details

Driver and crosswalk condition caused accident: pedestrian





Result type

Not present

brain, brain damage, coma, traumatic brain injury
On March 24, 2017, plaintiff Nicholas Tusant, 16, a high school student, was on his way to school when he began to cross Mustang Way at the intersection with Morgan Hill Road, in Hemet. The crosswalk had flashing lights on two posts under crosswalk signs and lights embedded in the ground, but without a stop sign or traffic signal. While Nicholas was crossing the road inside the crosswalk, he was struck by a pickup truck operated by Giles Gervais. Nicholas sustained of his head. Nicholas, by and through his guardian ad litem, Richard Tusant, sued Gervais, erroneously sued as “Joseph Gervais,” and the intersection’s maintainer, the city of Hemet. The lawsuit alleged that Gervais was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that the city was negligent in the installation of the crosswalk, creating a dangerous condition of public property. Gervais filed a cross-complaint against the city, alleging that the city was liable for the accident. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the city failed to perform a proper engineering investigation or evaluation before installing the crosswalk. Counsel contended that vehicle queues, congestion and obstructed sight lines were problems during morning and afternoon school commutes, making the intersection dangerous, and argued that something more protective for pedestrians, such as a barrier fence, should have also been installed. In addition, plaintiff’s counsel argued that Gervais failed to yield the right of way to Nicholas, who was a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Gervais claimed that the crossing location was dangerous and that the accident would not have occurred if the city had installed a barrier fence. The city’s counsel argued that Gervais was to blame for the accident, as Gervais was speeding, distracted and not wearing his driving glasses. Counsel also argued that Gervais was to blame because he failed to yield to a pedestrian. The city’s counsel further argued that the crossing location was not dangerous and that no other pedestrians, prior to Nicholas’ accident, had been hit by any vehicles after the lighted, marked crosswalk was installed., Nicholas sustained a traumatic brain injury. He was taken to a hospital, where he spent 30 days in a coma and remained hospitalized for months. He then spent more than one year in therapy learning how to speak and walk again. Nicholas sought recovery of past and future medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Riverside County, Riverside, CA

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