9/8/2005 - Posted by:
Gillin Jacobson Ellis & Larsen
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$6.5 million to a teenager seriously injured in a solo car rollover on a dangerous road.

Jury says Hayward company is responsible for accident that left teen seriously injured
by Ben Charny

HAYWARD - A jury awarded a Dublin couple $6.5 million Tuesday, to be paid by a Hayward construction company, for an automobile accident that permanently injured their 16-year-old son.

"It's been a long, long three years," said Marshall Hickman, stepfather of Todd Andrews, who suffered major injuries in the Nov. 27, 1987, accident on North Mines Road in Livermore.

After two days of deliberations, a jury found that Redgwick Construction Co. caused the accident.

Jurors ruled that the company, hired by the city of Livermore to repair the street, inadvertently left a mound of dirt in the middle of the roadway.

The car Andrews was driving near Charlotte Way struck the dirt mound and careened into a divider. It rolled three times before coming to a stop.

Andrews, who recently turned 19, is in a lifetime care facility in Texas, Hickman said.

After 2½ days of deliberations, a jury awarded the Hickmans $5.746 million in economic damages and $800,000 in non-economic damages.

Representatives for the company had no comment Tuesday.

Luke Ellis, who represented Marshall and Darlene Hickman in the lawsuit, said the roadway "had every violation there was," including the mound of dirt left by Redgwick Construction.

"There were no lights, no warning signs about road construction - nothing," Ellis said.

The city of Livermore has since fixed the roadway, Ellis said.

Ellis, of the Orinda law firm Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen, asked the jury to award between $4 million and $6 million, the estimated cost of medical care for Andrews.

One of the major issues during the three-week trial was whether Andrews, who was found to have a .03 blood-alcohol level, was responsible for the accident.

As part of the verdict, the jury did find that Andrews was responsible for 30 percent of the accident.

The panel also found that the city of Livermore, which hired the construction company, was responsible for 30 percent of the accident.

The general contractor on the project, McBail Co., was found to be responsible for 23 percent of the accident. The jury also found that engineering company, Associated Professions Inc. was responsible for 15 percent of the accident, according to the jury verdict.

McBail, Associated Professions and the city of Livermore settled out of court in the case for an estimated $2.4 million, Ellis said. He could not provide a breakdown of the payments.

There will be a hearing later this month to determine whether the Hayward construction company should pay all of the settlement or just its percentage of fault as found by the jury, which was 2 percent.

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