Case details

Plaintiffs claimed failure to barricade road caused crash




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

abdomen, abdominal, bilateral rib fractures, blunt force trauma to the head, chest, chest wall contusions, collapsed lung, head, hemothorax, pneumothorax, sternal fracture
At around 7:40 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2012, plaintiff Paul Powell, a retired 68 year old, was operating a 2005 Chrysler PT Cruiser on Pearblossom Highway, also known as State Route 138, in Los Angeles, with his wife, plaintiff Carolyn Powell, a retired 59 year old, as a passenger. When they were near the intersection with 185th Street East, Mr. Powell unknowingly drove into a closed section of the road that was under construction, causing him to hit a 6-foot high pile of asphalt rubble in the dark at 60 mph. The Powells subsequently became trapped in their vehicle. Mr. Powell injured his head, chest and abdomen, and Ms. Powell injured her wrist and shoulder. The Powells sued the owner and maintainer of the highway, the state of California; and the contractors that caused the asphalt/rubble, Granite Construction Inc. and Caltrop Corp. The Powells alleged that the state of California’s Department of Transportation and the two contractors failed to adequately barricade the closed area of the road and failed to provide adequate warning signs. Defense counsel asserted that the roadway was not dangerous and that the accident was not reasonably foreseeable, as there were no other similar accidents in the same area during the time of construction. Counsel counsel that proper barricades and signage were placed in front of the construction area after the construction ceased for the day and that no construction was going on that night, but that the cones were moved aside by someone other than the defendants. Thus, defense counsel asserted that there was no liability on the part of the defendants and that the accident was caused by Mr. Powell’s own negligence because he knew, or should have known, that he was driving in a barricaded construction area. In addition, Caltrans’ counsel asserted that design immunity applied during construction in this particular instance., The Powells were both taken to a hospital from the accident scene. Mr. Powell sustained bilateral rib fractures; a sternal fracture; a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) with hemothorax; abdominal and chest wall contusions; and blunt force trauma to his head, chest and abdomen. He also sustained a displaced comminuted fracture of the right, distal femur; spiral fractures of the right humeral shaft; and compression fractures at the L1, T11, and T12 levels of the spine. Mr. Powell subsequently underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of the right supracondylar and distal femur fracture, as well as plating of the sternal fracture and left-sided rib fracture. The procedures were performed several days after the accident, while still at the hospital. Mr. Powell claimed that he will need additional treatment for his . Thus, he sought recovery of approximately $612,639.86 in total medical costs, including $110,500 in past medical costs. He also sought recovery of damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Ms. Powell sustained fractures of her left, non-dominant wrist and clavicle. She underwent surgery that included the placement of a plate and screws in her wrist within several days of the accident. Ms. Powell claimed that she would require additional treatment for her . Thus, she sought recovery of approximately $79,085.67 in total medical costs, including $50,000 in past medical costs. She also sought recovery of damages for her past and future pain and suffering.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA

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