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Road Defects (Traffic Signal Malfunction, Negligent Road Design, Etc.)

As discussed previously, a potential cause of a pedestrian collision is a road defect. These types of cases very often fall into two general categories: traffic signal malfunctions and negligent road design. When evaluating whether or not a road defect case exists, the first thing which an attorney should do is evaluate the entities, private and public, which were responsible for the defect. Very often, public roadways are constructed by private entities who have entered into contracts with local governments and state governments. Such entities do not have the cloak of sovereign immunity, which are often present for government entities. Accordingly, they are ripe for suit arising out of negligence in creating a road defect.

With respect to the faulty operation of a traffic signal, there are often several layers of private entities involved in the construction. First, there is a general contractor who is responsible for the overall project. The general contractor then subcontracts to various entities for the construction of the actual roadway, the installation of traffic control devices, the designing of the programs or sequences for the traffic control devices, and the implementation of the design for the timing of the traffic control signals. All of these entities may play a role in the malfunction which may cause a pedestrian collision. Their role may be active, such as improperly programing a traffic control device. Likewise, they may have a more passive, but equally liable role with respect to the traffic signal malfunction such as the failure to properly inspect the work performed by other sub-contractors involved on the project. Wong v. City and County of Honolulu, Altec Corp, Amfac, Inc., Econolite Corp, et al., 66 Haw. 389, 665 P.2d 157 (1983) (city and defendants involved with the installation, maintenance and repair of malfunctioning traffic signal may be held liable for pedestrian’s injuries). When faced with a traffic signal malfunction case, it is seldom possible for an attorney to resolve all issues in the case without instituting litigation. Generally, the roles of the various entities and any negligence of specific individuals can only be explored after an attorney has filed suit and engaged in both paper discovery and depositions.

Another ripe area for road defects is the failure to properly place a crosswalk or appropriate signage on the road in well-known areas of pedestrian crossings. Again, private entities can be involved in this setting when local governments contract out what is usually a government function involved in deciding on the roadway signs which shall be placed. However, it is usually a government entity that has failed to properly design an intersection with due consideration for use by pedestrians. An attorney investigating these type of matters should evaluate the manuals and protocols with which the department of transportation has put in place for intersections. Very often, pedestrian accidents in high traffic intersections occur because a department of transportation has violated its own practices. See Wooten Wooten vs. South Carolina Department of Transportation, 326 S.C. 516, 485 Se.2d 119 (1997) (State department of transportation may be held liable for failing to follow its own practices in designing pedestrian crossings for busy intersection). It should also be noted that failure to properly maintain the area around pedestrian signage can result in a finding of negligence against the responsible government entity or private company hired to maintain the area. Physicians Plus Insurance Corp v. Midwest Mutual Insurance Company. 254 Wis.2d 77, 646 N.W.2d 777 (2002) (vegetation hiding traffic signage was basis for liability of government and private entity).

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I was in a head-on collision last year that put me in a wheelchair with a fractured femur. I needed an attorney and my cousin recommended this firm because he had used Briant Mildenhall for his accident. I was glad I called Briant because he always did what he said he would do and kept me informed. We settled with the insurance company and I'm happy with the result. If someone I know needs an attorney, I will tell them to call Briant because he will get the job done. Michael G.
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After a head–on collision I had extremely serious injuries to my back and neck, and some internal injuries. I was airlifted to the hospital and started a huge amount of medical expenses accumulating. I hired a lawyer recommended by a friend but I was not satisfied. My cousin told me about this firm so I talked to Briant Mildenhall about handling the case. I was at ease from the get–go. Briant kept me informed all the way through, was always reassuring and did everything he said he would do. He helped us get the money we needed to get the treatment we needed. Briant was fantastic! Ronda W. (Car Accident)
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I was in a car accident that was complicated from the start. I looked on the internet and called a few different lawyers but they turned me down after they heard my story. When I called this firm Lyn Dodson asked me to talk to her in person. I met with Lyn and Rob Katz and after hearing my story they were confident I had a case. They vigorously pursued my case and over time we built a trusting relationship. Lyn even took time to help me with the traffic issues and other aspects of the case. They were always on my side and talked to me about the advantages and disadvantages of my options... Robert W. (Car Accident)
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I would recommend the law firm of Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC. Lyn Dodson was my attorney after my auto accident. I had confidence in her legal abilities and experience. She did a very good job for me. She was always there to answer the many questions I asked. The firm is very professional. Lyn always gave you her undivided attention. The firm, especially Lyn, worked with you like a long time friend. Joe B. (Auto Accident)
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Robert Katz isn't your average personal injury lawyer. He has specialized knowledge and experience that the others don't. Timothy W. (Trucking Accident)
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I have nothing but good and positive things to say about Rob. One of the unique things about my case was that I was involved in a bicycle accident with another biker. He took an unorthodox case between two bicycle riders and he could see the logic and liability in it. I was very happy with the result. Rodney H. (Bicycle Accident)
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We just loved him to death. He acted like he cared about us, not just our case. He kept us posted on everything. He even called us on Sundays to update us. My case involved a rear-end collision where I had herniated disks and I had had a prior back injury. Complicated as it was, we were very happy with the outcome. Kathy H. (Car accident)
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Throughout the course of my case, Mr. Katz kept me informed about its status, returned my telephone calls and was very attentive to my needs and concerns. Simply put, he cared not just about my case, but about me. Joseph B.
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I was, and still am, extremely satisfied with Rob's work and with the outcome of my case. Rob strives to be there for his clients, and I was no exception...I would happily recommend Rob to anyone who is seeking legal assistance after suffering a severe injury. Joey E.
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