Kaire & Heffernan, LLC, has filed a complaint for damages against the Florida Department of Transportation on behalf of a pregnant woman who was seriously injured in an accident on I-95.
In October 2015, Stephanie Blossom was driving northbound on I-95 near NW 62nd Street in Miami-Dade County when a vehicle in an express toll lane cut through a traffic delineator and into her path. To avoid a collision, Blossom was forced to veer to the left, which caused her to violently crash into a retaining wall. Blossom, who was 29 weeks pregnant, suffered “severe and permanent injuries and damages” as a result of the wreck.
Express Lanes, Delineators Installed in 2008
In 2008, FDOT began a project to convert the existing high-occupancy lanes into high-occupancy toll lanes on I-95 northbound from the Airport Expressway to the Golden Glades Interchange. As part of the project, FDOT installed flexible, plastic lane delineators 20 feet apart to separate the express lanes from the slower traffic. The delineators were intended to limit access between the two types of lanes.
After the new lanes opened in July 2008, the complaint notes, the new configuration confused motorists and created problems for drivers attempting to get to exits. In addition, drivers were “finding themselves captive” in the 7-mile express lane stretch, and many moved into and out of the new lanes in the spaces between the delineating poles.
The confusing setup has caused numerous wrecks with injuries and hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage, the complaint notes.
Alleged Negligence by FDOT
Blossom’s complaint alleges that FDOT acted negligently in the way in which it installed the express lanes and traffic delineators on I-95 through Miami-Dade.
The agency had a duty to reconfigure the roadway “in a reasonable and careful manner,” the complaint alleges. In addition, FDOT should have properly maintained the road in a safe way that protected the health and welfare of the public.
The complaint alleges that the agency should have foreseen the problems the road configuration would cause — namely, that motorists would drive over the flexible delineators and through the openings between the delineators to cross in and out of the express lanes.
Complaint: FDOT Knew of Hazards, Failed to Act
The complaint also lists a number of ways in which FDOT allegedly failed to take prudent action to protect motorists. According to the complaint, the duties owed to the driving public included:
- Installing lane delineators in a way that would prevent drivers from easily crossing between the lanes.
- Installing concrete barrier walls separating the two types of lanes.
- Restriping the affected highway corridor in a “reasonable and careful manner.”
- Configuring the road in a way that maintained sufficiently wide travel lanes and shoulders.
- Maintaining the road in a reasonable manner.
FDOT, along with its contractors and subcontractors, knew or should have known about the hazardous conditions on the road but failed to take adequate action to protect the public, the complaint alleges.
Damages Sought for Plaintiff
The complaint notes that as a result of the accident, Blossom has endured physical disability, pain and suffering, and “mental anguish” resulting from her injuries. The accident also aggravated pre-existing conditions and has caused the plaintiff to lose her capacity for enjoyment of life. In addition, her losses include the costs of her hospitalization, ongoing medical care, employment earnings, the capacity to earn in the future, and other damages.
On behalf of Blossom, Kaire & Heffernan is seeking a significant monetary reward of compensatory and consequential damages, along with legal costs and other relief the court awards.
For more information about this action, please contact Kaire & Heffernan, LLC.