Negotiating the S-curve — Caltrans Liability for Dangerous Roads

San Francisco Bay Area Dangerous Roads Attorney

On November 9, 2009, Hayward resident Tahir Fakhar lost control of his truck along the S-curve approaching the Bay Bridge. His truck, carrying a load of peaches, veered out of control and toppled over a three-foot guardrail, falling 200 feet to the Yerba Buena Island below.

Mr. Fakhar’s family filed a lawsuit against Caltrans, alleging that an improper road design in the S-curve contributed to Mr. Fakhar’s death. While Mr. Fakhar was traveling 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, his family’s attorneys have pointed out that there were 43 accidents involving the S-curve prior to Mr. Fakhar’s fatal crash.

The Response of Caltrans

Interestingly enough, after Mr. Fakhar’s accident, Caltrans added flashing radar signs, additional speed warnings, rumble strips and a raised barrier along the curve in question. On the day of the fatal accident, Caltrans claimed excessive speed was to blame, making it more difficult for Mr. Fakhar to properly negotiate the curve. According to investigators working with the California Highway Patrol, Mr. Fakhar was likely traveling at 50 mph at the time of his accident — 10 mph over the posted speed limit and 15 mph over the maximum speed recommended for the sharpest curves.

At the time of the lawsuit, officials for Caltrans had nothing to say regarding the fact that after Mr. Fakhar’s accident and Caltrans’ actions to increase safety, not a single accident occurred along the S-curve.

Unsafe Road Design — a Contributing Factor in Fatal Accidents

The extent to which a dangerous or defective road design may be a contributing factor in a car accident may not always be obvious. Accident investigators can evaluate the presence of certain risk factors like dips in the road, an absence of guardrails, posted speed limits, the grading of a road or an obscured line of sight approaching an intersection.

As in the case of Mr. Fakhar’s accident, Caltrans is unlikely to admit fault when defective road design is discovered as a contributing factor in an accident. For these reasons, it’s important to work with an experienced dangerous road design attorney who can gather information, work with investigators and expose negligence on the part of Caltrans.

Contact Bay Area Dangerous Road Design Attorneys Weber & Nierenberg

If you’ve been seriously injured or have lost a family member in a car, truck or motorcycle accident that involved a dangerous stretch of road, contact San Francisco personal injury attorneys Weber & Nierenberg today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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