Matthews Bark|”Attorney In DUI Case Explains Decision To Sue Power Company”

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Category             :   Matthews Bark
By                         :   JILLIAN RAFTERY 
Posted By           :   Contact DUI Lawyer

DUI Attorney
DUI Attorney

Washington’s Supreme Court says cities, counties and utility companies can be liable when faulty road design leads to injuries in car crashes – even when the driver is drunk. Dori called it a crisis for personal responsibility, but attorney Jeffrey Keane said that if the pole had been in the right place his client would likely have not been hurt at all. Nathan Lowman had been in a bar – Keane disputed that Nathan was drinking – with Jennifer Wilbur, who was drinking. Jennifer veered off the road at a curve. Authorities reported that she was going at least nine miles per hour above the 25 mile per hour speed limit. And, though Jennifer was found later to have a 0.14 BAC, Keane said his client didn’t think she was drunk. “He only wishes he’d known that at the time.”

“She slid off the road and just about actually got back on the road because she wasn’t going that fast,” said Keane. “The car hit the pole right where he was seated, so his right arm was almost severed.” Nathan Lowman had almost $500,000 in medical bills. “He sued the driver, who’s been completely non-responsive and had no insurance, he sued the bar, he sued Skagit County, which has the authority to regulate where you put power poles, and he sued PSE, which put that power pole right back in the same hole where it had twice been struck.”

Keane argued that engineers and transportation planners have looked at what’s safe for drivers and determined that utility poles must be 10 feet away from the roadway. He explained that, in 2000, the state legislature passed a statute saying just that. “We design roads expecting that people are going to leave the roadway – it just happens; it happens accidentally, it happens when people are drunk, etc,” said Keane. But Dori wasn’t convinced; Keane stated that the state required all post-2000 utility poles to be ten feet from the roadway – no matter the speed limit, no matter the road. “The power pole is not the reason they got hurt,” said Dori. “The drunk driver is the reason they got hurt.”


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