In this Santa Clara County case, Jeffrey A. Clause recovered $600,000 on behalf of the parents of an 18-year-old who was fatally struck from behind by a tow truck driver. Plaintiffs’ son was walking at 1:00 a.m. in the bicycle lane of a roadway beneath a major overpass. Although six overhead lights were installed, the City allowed the lights to stop working, causing the area to become unusually dark. The tow truck driver crossed the bicycle lane to merge onto the freeway, and in doing so, struck the decedent.
Defendants contended that the decedent was completely at fault for the accident for walking in the pitch-black roadway. The tow truck driver argued that he was driving within the speed limit, that he could not see the decedent prior to the collision, and that he did nothing wrong. The attorneys for the City argued that it had no duty to maintain the overhead lights and that the roadway was not dangerous. Walkup attorneys argued that the driver was driving too fast for conditions and that the City was at fault because it undertook the responsibility to properly maintain the overhead lighting.