Green, Waters Ogle and McCarter obtained a total of $525,000 for a pedestrian struck in a Gatlinburg crosswalk. Our client was crossing the North Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg to reach a business on the opposite site of the street. As she was crossing the Parkway within a marked crosswalk, she was struck by a south-bound vehicle. She received severe injuries and was transported by LifeStar to the hospital. She required extensive medical attention and rehabilitation as a result of the accident.
There were various estimates of the speed of the defendant driver’s vehicle that struck our client provided by eyewitnesses to the accident. The crash report stated that our client was struck by the vehicle and
flew into the air and into the road. Further, it was stated that
a measurement was taken from the center of the crosswalk to the tip of the victim’s foot where she came to a final rest. It was exactly 35 feet. The defendant driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. One witness estimated that our client was thrown 100 feet into the street and that the defendant driver was traveling about 30 mph.
The at-fault driver carried only a minimal liability policy and had no significant assets. We accepted a policy limits settlement from the at-fault driver and then moved forward with an uninsured motorist claim under our client’s policy where we, again, were able to obtain full policy limits for our client. Both settlement agreements with the liability carrier and the uninsured motorist carrier were obtained without having to file a lawsuit, which means our client was able to receive that portion of her settlement quickly to help pay all her medical expenses. When our firm accepts a pedestrian accident case, we do not rest until we hold all liable parties accountable. If a city, town, county or other governmental entity did not maintain or properly design the road, then they can be held responsible for pedestrian accidents.
Green, Waters Ogle and McCarter conducted an extensive investigation to determine all parties liable for our client’s horrific injuries. After our firm’s investigation, we filed a complaint in the Sevier County Circuit Court alleging the City of Gatlinburg was negligent in the design of the crosswalk in the following ways:
- The crosswalk’s warning signals/signs and/or pedestrian-control devices were absent and/or inadequate to alert pedestrians, including plaintiff, traversing the crosswalk of on-coming traffic so that those pedestrians could safely traverse the crosswalk.
- Further, the approaches to the crosswalk were not posted with appropriate warning signs of the existence of the crosswalk and/or with appropriate speed limit signs/signalization and/or other appropriate traffic-control devices and/or pedestrian-control devices to alert drivers of the presence of the crosswalk.
- The problems enumerated above rendered the crosswalk dangerous to motorists approaching the crosswalk and rendered the crosswalk dangerous to pedestrians traversing the crosswalk, creating a trap for unwary motorists and pedestrians which was not readily apparent to those motorists and pedestrians. The condition of the crosswalk was such that warning signals/signs and traffic-control devices and/or pedestrian-control devices were necessary to warn of the dangerous condition which endangered the safe movement of traffic and pedestrians traversing the crosswalk and which would not be reasonably apparent to and could not have been anticipated by a person (motorist and/or pedestrian) exercising due care while traversing the crosswalk. The condition which existed was such that a motorist traversing and/or approaching the roadway/crosswalk would not be given sufficient advance warning of the existence of the crosswalk and any pedestrians, including plaintiff, traversing the crosswalk and, therefore, those motorists would not be able to slow and/or stop their vehicles in time to avoid colliding with pedestrians traversing the crosswalk, resulting in injuries to pedestrians using the crosswalk, as occurred to plaintiff in the instant case. This condition created a trap for unwary motorists and pedestrians which was not reasonably apparent to, and was not anticipated by said motorists and pedestrians, including plaintiff, while she was exercising due care.
Our firm retained a qualified engineer to analyze the crosswalk where our client was struck. The expert recommended five areas for improvement of the subject crosswalk:
- Advance warnings; ways to get drivers’ attention (e.g. flashing lights)
- Rumble strips
- Continental pavement markings
- Speed limit reduction
Our firm, along with our wonderful client, were both determined to do everything possible to see that this dangerous crosswalk was made safe so no one else would suffer severe injuries, or worse, lose their life. Our lawyers attended city workshops on the issue of pedestrian safety and spoke on behalf of our client. As highlighted by WBIR News in their article, “Gatlinburg Business Owners Concerned About Crosswalk Safety,” many local business owners joined in vocalizing their concerns about the danger of the downtown Gatlinburg crosswalks. Ultimately, we were able to reach a settlement agreement with the city, and shortly thereafter, several crucial safety improvements were implemented at the crosswalk where our client was injured.