Legal Analysis of Decision Finding City of Springfield, Missouri Partially at Fault for Accident at Grant and Portland in Midtown Springfield

One of our Springfield Missouri car accident lawyers shares the results of a recent personal injury case. Read this article to learn how personal injury cases can work.

1232540_statue_of_wisdom.jpgSpringfield Mo. Traffic Accident Results in Personal Injury Suit
In Lampe v. Taylor, 338 S.W.3d 350 (Mo. App. S.D. 2011), the Southern District Court of Appeals upheld a judgment in favor of an injured driver holding a negligent driver and the City of Springfield Mo. jointly and severally liable for $399,322.71 in damages to the injured driver. In October 2001, Hunter and Summer Lampe were driving southbound on Grant Avenue when they were t-boned by a car driven by Bette Taylor at the intersection of Grant and Portland in midtown Springfield. Ms. Taylor, who was driving westbound on Portland toward Grant, ran a red light at the intersection causing the accident with the Lampes. Summer Lampe sustained significant injuries in the accident. Ms. Lampe brought suit against Taylor alleging she was negligent in failing to obey the traffic signal, and against the City of Springfield alleging the city negligently maintained a dangerous condition at the intersection. Under Missouri law, a lawsuit for negligence against a public entity may be brought in certain situations if the public entity created a dangerous condition on public property.

Springfield Mo. Personal Injury Case Goes to Trial
At trial, Lampe offered the testimony of a traffic engineer, Dr. John Glennon, who testified that the authoritative manual on minimum traffic standards, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (Manual), required that the intersection have continuous visibility of the traffic signal for a minimum of 270 feet. According to Dr. Glennon, the city failed this requirement in that various obstructions blocked the continuous visibility of the light, including foliage, utility poles, and the traffic signals on Grant. Dr. Glennon concluded that the obstructions would have been obvious to utility workers who had visited the intersection for inspections numerous times in the several years prior to the accident. Dr. Glennon also testified that the failure to comply with the manual made the intersection dangerous, and this dangerous condition caused or contributed to the accident.

Additionally, Dr. Glennon testified that the City's installation of a "signal ahead" sign did not comply with the Manual. Under the Manual, if it is possible to meet the continuous visibility requirement, then placing a warning sign instead is not sufficient to be compliant with the Manual. Dr. Glennon testified that the 270 foot visibility requirement could be met in this specific situation, and thus the "signal ahead" sign was insufficient to make the intersection safe. Further, the "signal ahead" sign had its own visibility problems that minimized its effectiveness. Dr. Glennon concluded and testified that the intersection was dangerous despite the "signal ahead" sign.

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