Attorneys Doug Saeltzer and Rich Schoenberger of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger Obtain Substantial Jury Verdict on Behalf of 17-Year-Old Girl
(San Francisco, California) July 13, 2010 – Personal injury lawyers from Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have obtained a jury verdict in excess of $12 million on behalf of Emily Liou, a 17-year-old girl who was injured as the result of a pedestrian accident in San Mateo County. In the 2006 crash, Ms. Liou was struck by a slow-moving vehicle while walking across a dark marked crosswalk. As a result of this collision she sustained a catastrophic brain injury that has left her in a permanent vegetative state.
For more than three years, Walkup attorneys prosecuted a claim against the offending driver and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), who was responsible for marking and signing at the intersection where Emily was hurt. Last week, these efforts were rewarded when jurors in a San Mateo County Superior Court found that Emily’s injuries were caused by the combined negligence of both Caltrans and the driver.
At trial, attorneys Saeltzer and Schoenberger presented evidence known to Caltrans demonstrating that uncontrolled intersections with designated crosswalks are generally much more dangerous than unmarked crosswalks, as they give pedestrians a false sense of security when crossing. The pedestrian accident rate at the intersection where Emily was struck dramatically exceeded the rate of collisions at uncontrolled intersections by a factor of nearly 20.
Despite Caltrans’ claim that only three pedestrian accidents had occurred at this site in the prior 10 years, during which time 90 million vehicles had passed through the intersection, the jurors were convinced of the unnecessary danger posed by this flawed intersection design and found in favor of Ms. Liou. The jurors also found that Caltrans was primarily responsible for the accident, as a faulty crosswalk design in association with site distance problems for approaching drivers significantly increased the likelihood of a pedestrian accident and the agency had done nothing to address the problem.
Established in 1959, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger is Northern California’s premier personal injury law firm based in San Francisco, California. For more than fifty years, personal injury lawyers at the firm have successfully represented the rights and interests of individuals who have suffered life-altering injuries as the result of the negligence and wrongdoing of others. Attorneys Schoenberger and Saeltzer have both been voted by their peers to be among the Best Lawyers in America.