Multi-Million Dollar Judgment for Winter Driving Accident
Author(s): Robert M. Ben
May 9, 2013
Following a lengthy trial against the County of Brant, Thomson Rogers personal injury lawyers David F. MacDonald, Michael L. Bennett and Robert M. Ben recently obtained a multi-million dollar judgment for a client who suffered a serious brain injury during a winter driving accident.
Seventeen-year-old Jesse Ferguson was driving an SUV at night along a snow covered rural road in the County of Brant. He was travelling at the posted 60 km/h speed limit. However, unbeknownst to him, this was in excess of the critical speed of a sharp curve in the road (critical speed being the speed at which a vehicle will lose lateral control on a given curve). Jesse’s SUV left the roadway at the curve, striking a tree. Jesse sustained a disabling brain injury as a result.
Jesse sued the County for breaching its obligations to maintain the road in state of repair; namely, that it failed to install an appropriate sharp curve and reduced speed advisory sign, and that it failed to maintain the road free of snow and ice. Instead there was a “winding road” and a “Y” intersection sign posted ahead of the curve. The trial judge concluded that the case turned entirely on road signage and made no findings on the winter road maintenance issue except to say that there was certainly room for improvement in the County’s weather monitoring, patrolling and salting practices.