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Jury says LA County liable for $13.9 million in collision damages

Lawsuits based upon the alleged negligence of a government employee can be difficult to win, but a recent jury verdict in Long Beach shows that sometimes, such claims can be successful. The jury decided that Los Angeles County was liable for nearly $14 million in damages for injuries suffered by a pedestrian in an automobile accident triggered by a county employee's negligence.

The plaintiff was walking on a sidewalk on Norwalk Boulevard when a Los Angeles County an attorney employed in the office of the county public defender failed to yield to oncoming traffic while making a left turn. The county's car collided with a Honda Civic, which then struck the plaintiff, slamming him into a brick wall. The plaintiff suffered extensive injuries, including trauma to his head and multiple fractures of his spine and ribs. The plaintiff spent 17 days in the hospital, including 9 days in the intensive care unit.

The county's attorneys argued that the driver of the Honda Civic should share liability for the accident, but the jury found that the county and the attorney who failed to yield were 100 percent liable for the accident. The jury awarded $122,355 for past medical expenses, $770,055 in future medical expenses, $545,222 in future lost earnings, $3.2 million in past pain and suffering and $9.2 million in future pain and suffering.

This case demonstrates the extent to which a jury can compensate a plaintiff for injuries suffered in a car accident. Anyone who has been injured in an automobile collision may wish to consult a lawyer who specializes in handling claims arising out of such accidents. A knowledgeable attorney can provide a helpful analysis of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram, "Jury: Los Angeles County must pay Norwalk man $13.9 million after collision," City News Service, May 26, 2016

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