It sometimes takes a deadly crash to call attention to the dangerous design of a road. That was the case when 30-year-old Steven Wolkoff died in an accident on the Cabrillo Highway, leading to a jury verdict of over $12 million.
You may have read about the resulting lawsuit in the news. Wolkoff was riding with his long-term partner, Cindy Burkowski, travelling north just past Ano Nuevo State Park. At the same time, Jeffrey Bluestone was stopped in the southbound lane, waiting to turn into the Pie Ranch. A two-lane southbound stretch had just reduced to one lane.
Santiago Nabor approached Bluestone’s vehicle from behind and tried to pass him on the right. The two vehicles collided, sending Bluestone’s vehicle head-on into the northbound lane, where it was hit by Burkowski. Burkowski suffered severe injuries, with the result that she was permanently unable to work full-time and could only work part-time in sedentary jobs. Both her partner and Nabor died in the crash.
At the time of the accident, there was no left-hand pocket turn lane to allow southbound traffic to turn safely into the Pie Ranch. However, Caltrans added such a lane after the fatal crash.
Burkowski brought a lawsuit against Caltrans and others. However, everyone settled before trial except Caltrans. Burkowski argued that the road was inherently dangerous because of the lack of a left-hand pocket turn lane.
A jury decided that Burkowski played no role in causing the crash. It assigned most of the fault to the other two drivers, Nabor and Bluestone. However, it also found that the state was 15 percent responsible for causing the crash.
This sad case shows just how important proper road design is in protecting the travelling public. Due to no fault of her own, Ms. Burkowski was stripped of her partner and of a healthy future.
The Alexander Law Group, LLP is a nationally-recognized and award-winning personal injury and product liability law firm with offices in San Jose and San Francisco. We are passionate about our clients and our community. We are advocates for our clients and we invite you to read what our clients have to say. If you were severely injured in a crash due to faulty road design, contact us at the Alexander Law Group, LLP or call 888.777.1776. All calls are free and confidential.