KRTV news recently reported that attorneys from the Hoyt and Blewett law firm obtained a $600,000 settlement for a boy who suffered brain injuries in a 2003 car accident which occurred near Great Falls, Montana.
Karen Brooke, the Public Administrator of Choteau County, as conservator of the Estate of S.E., filed the lawsuit, ADV-11-0350, on behalf of the three-year-old boy who suffered serious brain injuries in an auto accident involving two vehicles. The suit alleged that Teton County negligently failed to erect a sign warning south-bound motorists on 4th Lane NE that they would be approaching an intersection with County Line Road when the motorists’ view of the intersection is completely obscured by a large berm which runs along County Line Road. 4th Lane NE and County Line Road are both gravel roads and are governed by 70 MPH speed limits.
The Plaintiff’s engineering expert testified that the intersection restricts the site distance of oncoming motorists and, because of these sight restrictions, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices requires the posting of an intersection sign on 4th Lane NE. 3 River’s Telephone Cooperative, the other defendant involved in the crash, similarly alleged that this was a hazardous intersection and that Teton County was negligent in failing to provide signage warning motorists of the oncoming intersection.
“The safety rules clearly require the placement of a sign when vehicles are traveling up to 50 mph through a blind intersection,” said Anders Blewett, a Montana car accident attorney at Hoyt and Blewett law firm in Great Falls who represented the injured boy. “This obstructed intersection and lack of signage, created a preventable hazard which allowed motorists to enter this intersection unaware of the danger.”
A number of intersections in this area are posted with signs to warn motorists of oncoming intersections. According to Blewett these intersection signs have been placed at locations that are far less obstructed than the intersection of 4th Lane NE and County Line Road.
More than ten years following the car accident, Teton County recently erected an intersection sign on 4th Lane NE to warn motorists of the intersection with County Line Road.
“It took ten years and a substantial settlement, but we are very pleased that Teton County finally agreed to erect an intersection sign to eliminate this tremendous hazard,” said Blewett. “Nothing will make up for the brain injuries suffered by this young boy, but at least this will prevent another tragic crash from occurring. We hope this settlement prompts all Montana counties to review their policies and maximize highway safety for the motorists of Montana.”