Walkup Melodia Lawyers Win $12.2 Million Verdict for San Mateo County Teen Permanently Disabled when Struck in Crosswalk

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Caltrans held 50% responsible by jury for placing marked crosswalk at uncontrolled intersection on El Camino Real in Milbrae

Emily was struck in a marked crosswalk located at the crest of a rise in the road, which does not come into view until a driver is about 100 feet away

Attorneys from the San Francisco-based law firm Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger secured a $12.2 million verdict on behalf of a San Mateo woman who is now in a permanent vegetative state as a result of injuries suffered in a tragic automobile-pedestrian accident in 2006.

The case, Liou v. State of California and Gada Hassany (Case No. CIV 460659), stemmed from an accident that took place on El Camino Real in Millbrae back on March 28, 2006. On that evening, Emily Liou, who was just 17 years old at the time, was walking home from signing Karaoke with some friends and was looking forward to seeing the prom dress her parents had just picked up for her that day. Emily had crossed six of the seven lanes of the road when a slow-moving Toyota sedan, driven by a woman with her child in the back seat, hit and knocked Emily to the pavement. Emily sustained a traumatic brain injury that, according to her doctors, has left her in a permanent vegetative state.

"Emily was struck in a marked crosswalk located at the crest of a rise in the road, which does not come into view until a driver is about 100 feet away," explained Douglas S. Saeltzer, a highly regarded brain injury attorney with Walkup Melodia. "Additionally, the crosswalk is located at an 'uncontrolled' intersection, meaning that there are no lights or stop signs controlling vehicular traffic. El Camino Real, which Caltrans calls State Route 82, is among the busiest roads on the peninsula."

Mr. Saeltzer and his partner, Rich Schoenberger, filed lawsuit against Caltrans and the driver of the vehicle that struck Emily, subsequently taking more than 40 depositions and filing motions to compel production of traffic collision reports. Through this discovery, the firm learned that three pedestrians had been killed in this same crosswalk in the 15 years before Emily's accident.

The case went to trial in San Mateo Superior Court before Judge Joseph Scott. After a four-week trial, the jury found for the plaintiff and awarded Emily $12.2 million in damages. They apportioned fault 50% to Caltrans, 30% to the driver, and 20% to Emily.

A traumatic brain injury can mean lifetime disability, economic devastation, loss of independence, personality changes, loss of earning capabilities, loss of memory, and dependence on family and friends for supervision and care. Of all types of injury, a traumatic brain injury is the most likely to result in death or permanent disability, and these injuries occur in everyday accidents on our roads, on job sites and even in homes. For more information about Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, please go to http://www.brain-injurylawyer.com or call 888.732.8897.


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Douglas S. Saeltzer
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