HERNANDEZ v. CITY OF LONG BEACH, ET AL.
PEDESTRIAN v. auto
DANGEROUS ROADS AND SIDEWALKS
Plaintiff, a 16 year old student was walking towards a bridge that crosses the Los Angeles River when she was struck by a station wagon driven by an unlicensed driver. Plaintiff sustained fractures to her tibia, fibula, orbit, and pelvis. Additionally, Plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury. Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the driver for negligence, as well as the City of Long Beach for a dangerous condition of public property. Plaintiff contended that the City of Long Beach created a dangerous condition on the road by fencing off a pre-existing dirt path previously used by pedestrians to gain protected access to a bridge, and that the fencing forced pedestrians to walk on the roadway surface in order to gain access to the bridge. Plaintiff also contended that the City failed to warn pedestrians that they would be forced to walk close to the roadway edge. The City denied any dangerous condition existed and noted the lack of other accidents on the road. The City contended that proximate cause of Plaintiff's injuries was the unlicensed defendant driver who was engaged in an argument with the occupants of the vehicle next to him when his vehicle struck Plaintiff. The City also contended that Plaintiff should have walked on the other side of the street where there was a pedestrian sidewalk. Additionally, the City contended that at the area of impact, the roadway was the width of a standard roadway and sidewalk combined and that even if a sidewalk had been in place, the vehicle would have jumped the sidewalk and Plaintiff would still have been struck. Defendants challenged the nature, extent, and value of Plaintiff's injuries and damages.