Friday, May 8, 2015

Arizona Supreme Court Upholds $7.8M Verdict Vs. State In I-10 Crossover Accident

The Arizona Supreme Court today unanimously upheld a $7.8M verdict against the state of Arizona from a 2007 accident on I-10 where a Tucson man and his daughter were killed after a driver headed the opposite direction lost control of her vehicle and crossed through the median.

The State was relying on a statute that provided them with an affirmative defense if they had constructed the road according to standards at the time of construction. That stretch of I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix in 1967, when traffic - truck and otherwise - was lighter and median barriers were not as advanced.

The Supreme Court agreed with both the trial judge and the Court of Appeals that Diana Glazer, the surviving spouse/mother - who was seriously injured in the fatal head-on collision - was entitled to the verdict.  However, four of the Justices found that the defense was (and, will be) still available to the State, but that they did not prove that the "open median  in the collision area was not an 'unreasonably dangerous hazard' or, if it was, that the State warned the public of this hazard."

Chief Justice Scott Bales agreed with the majority's result, but felt that it gives the state too much leeway when conditions have changed since the time of design/construction.

A rash of crossover accidents in Arizona - and, the resulting public attention - prompted Arizona to add and update median barriers throughout the state.

(This article was contributed by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

To date, the State of Arizona has not added and updated median barriers on the stretch of I-10 in question. The risk of crossover accidents on I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix is still very high.

The State of Arizona put up warning signs saying "No Median Barriers" on various stretches of interstate throughout Arizona.

Mitch M. said...

Thanks, Anon! Will follow up, pls email us if you have other info.