Will ODOT Take Action After a Deadly Accident?

Intersection AccidentPortland’s news channel, KGW, reports that two young women, both Pacific University students, were killed in a car crash at the intersection of Oregon 47 and Verboort Road near Forest Grove.  Marilee Peters, who has lived next to the intersection for a quarter century called it a very dangerous stretch of road.  She said, “I don’t know how many people have to be killed there before something major changes, everyone’s always said there needs to be a light there.”

The most recent young women were not the first to be killed.  A sixteen-year-old high school student was killed in a similar crash at the intersection in 2007.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reports that between January 2008 and July 2013 there were 27 auto accidents at the intersection.

According to The Oregonian, ODOT claims it will push for a large-scale project to redesign the intersection, but it could take years before the construction is completed.  The proposal includes putting in a multimillion dollar two-lane roundabout at the intersection to slow down drivers and solve the problem long-term.  After the high school student was killed in 2007, the agency considered installing a traffic signal at the intersection, but it determined that the signal would do more harm than good.  The Oregonian also reported that, following the 2007 fatality, Forest Grove officials made the problem known to ODOT.  Mayor Peter Traux said he had multiple meetings after that crash with both ODOT and the Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation.  At those meetings, the city officials advocated for more signals on the highway.

What Traffic Accident Victims Can Do

Survivors of those killed in accidents like the ones at this intersection, or individuals who are injured in non-fatal accidents, have ways of holding those responsible accountable, and ways of encouraging government agencies that can act to act.  The best way to do that is to contact an aauto accident or wrongful death ttorney, who may be able to recover damages.  Damages in non-fatal crashes can include compensation for your pain and suffering; reimbursement of medical expenses; lost wages; payment for reductions in your future earning capacity; compensation for diminished enjoyment of life; loss of comfort and support of a spouse.  In the case of fatality additional types of damages may be available to the deceased’s surviving family members.

In order for a surviving family member to recover damages for a wrongful death in Oregon, two requirements must be met:

  • The person at fault acted, or failed to act, in such a way as to cause the death.
  • If the victim had survived, he or should would have been entitled to recover for damages.

Drivers are not the only ones who can be held responsible.  If a public entity (like ODOT) or a manufacturer has been negligent, and that negligence has contributed to the accident, then they can be held liable as well.  There are strict time limits on when these kinds of suits can be filed, particularly when a public entity is involved, so it is very important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.

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