In a civil trial launched in Hamilton, Canada a court heard that the stop line on Fifth Concession Road West, where the sedan should have stopped, was faded and virtually invisible to drivers. The sedan instead stopped at the stop sign before pulling out into the intersection. According to the court documents, city staff had identified months earlier that the stop line needed repainting and had recommended it, but hadn't gotten around to it. Court heard there were "regular" accidents at that intersection. Years before the crash, a neighbor had petitioned to have reflective "tiger stripes" painted on the roadway there (which have since been added).
The stop line was faded. As a result, Superior Court Justice Toni Skarica ruled last week that the city, as well as the driver of the sedan, was negligent. "The evidence establishes that the city had committed itself to maintain this stop line and had ample notice that this intersection was a dangerous — if not one of the most dangerous — intersections in the City of Hamilton," the judge ruled. "The city was aware it needed repainting as far as six months before the accident, but it had not been done." The cost of a stop line, according to the court documents, was $50 to $100.
In an email statement Friday, lawyer Michael Smitiuch said the decision "serves as a wake-up call for the city to ensure improvements are made to dangerous intersections to protect public safety." He said that although his client will continue to struggle with his injuries, "the decision will allow (Chiocchio) to have the much needed care and rehabilitation that he requires and allow him to provide for his young son." He declined to say what amount the city was ordered to pay. On his blog he wrote, "The losses and damage suffered by the plaintiff were considerable." A city spokesperson said Monday it's "reviewing the decision with outside counsel, who acted on behalf of the city's insurer, to consider options." Read more.