Hawa v. DOT
Hawa v. DOT, State Court of Fulton County
Civil Action File No. 04VS064364C
Defense Verdict: January, 2006.
Plaintiff suffered serious leg and pelvic injuries when a vehicle left the northbound lanes of Georgia 400, crossed the grassed median and collided with Plaintiff and several other southbound vehicles. Plaintiff sued the Georgia Department of Transportation alleging the negligent design of Georgia 400. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged DOT should have installed guardrail or concrete barriers to prevent vehicles from crossing over the grass median which separated northbound traffic or Georgia 400 from southbound traffic. In support of this argument, Plaintiff argued that most of the length of Georgia 400 between 85 and 285 had some type of barrier protection in the median. The last pretrial demand to DOT was $950,000.
We argued that the 44-foot wide median satisfied all engineering standards and guidelines in place at the time SR 400 was designed and constructed. Moreover, DOT contended that a wide median gave drivers who left the paved surface of the roadway an opportunity to regain control and re-enter the travel way. By contrast, adding a guardrail or concrete barrier would be placing an additional hazard closer to the road so that drivers who left the roadway would be more likely to strike the barrier and could be deflected back into traffic. DOT further asserted that the sole proximate cause of the accident was the negligence of the other driver who left the northbound lanes of Georgia 400 and crossed the grass median without ever touching his brakes. The jury returned a defense verdict in favor of DOT, but against the Estate of Moses King, the errant driver, for $2,700,000.