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DOT wins Crash Lawsuit

About three years ago, a car crossed over the centre line of Route 67 that is just outside Ramona.  The speeding car smashed into another car that is being driven by Alexandria Drake.  The accident killed Alexandria’s life and will forever change the lives of her husband, Jay; their son, Jayden.  Jay, Jayden and Drake’s Parents are also inside the vehicle when the accident happened, and remarkably, they were not hurt.

Jay and Alexandria’s parents filed a lawsuit against Caltrans.  They are saying that Caltrans knew that Route 67 that is in between Ramona and Lakeside has always been a scene of Vehicular Accidents and they had not done what is needed to prevent these events.  Last June, Jay and Drake’s Parents lost the lawsuit since the San Diego Court Jury rule is in favor of Caltrans.

Caltrans now wants the family to pay the Legal Fee that the state agency spent during the trial amounting to $73,802.  Pamela McKeirnan, Alexandria’s Mother, said that she thinks that the California Department of Transportation is sending a message to all people who are considering filing a lawsuit against the state agency.  The Transportation Department stated that based on the statistics in 2009, Route 67 had a fatality rate that is twice the national road fatality average rate.  McKeirnan said, “I think we are the example to the community, their message is “Don’t mess with us.”

The family of the victim has offered not to make an appeal in return for Caltrans agreement on not to seek for the Legal Fee, the family’s lawyer Brett J. Schieiber said.  But the offer was rejected.  He also mentioned that the agency told him that there has to be some consequence for those people who want to file a lawsuit regarding the safety of the State Route 67.  The Department of Transportation declined to answer any questions about their action against the McKiernan and declined to say anything about their actions and if it meant to “discourage” other people on filing lawsuits against them.  The agency spokesman Edgar Cartagena said, “Caltrans represents the best interests of the State of California and this is a standard procedure in such a legal case.”

The winning side asking the losing side to pay legal fees and costs are not unusual.  The law of the state allows such claims, but there are also some restrictions.  The family’s lawyer said that if the verdict goes in their favor, they would have done this same thing.  A hearing has been scheduled in November 30, 2012.  Based on the court’s files, Schreiber said that amount that Caltrans wants the family to pay are excessive and not allowed by the state law.  The verdict and the demand by Caltrans are preventing them from moving on as per Jay Drake, husband of Alexandria Drake.  Because his wife passed away, he is now doing the role of both Father and Mother to his son Jayden who is now three years old.  His income has drastically declined, and he even sold the house that he and his wife shared for a long time.  Drake said, “It’s like nothing came out of this case, my wife died for no reason.”

If you were injured in a car accident, please contact an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer who will protect the rights of you and your loved ones. You may be entitled to financial compensation for economic damages as well as pain and suffering.

(Source: U-T San Diego



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