A Los Angeles woman was recently awarded up to $4 million for injuries and damages related to a sinkhole accident in 2017. Her car had become trapped in a sinkhole and water streamed into the vehicle, forcing her to scramble onto the top of the car and call for help. She sued the city of Los Angeles for negligence, and the Los Angeles City Council voted to pay her up to $4 million in December 2019.
The Harrowing Incident
Stephanie Scott was driving along a road in Studio City when she felt the car suddenly pitch to the left and fall into a sinkhole. The car rolled over many times until it stopped in a pit of rushing water. As a result of the impact, her airbags deployed and water started to quickly fill the car. Scott scrambled out of the door and climbed on top of the car, where she began shouting for help. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they found Scott on top of her overturned car, approximately 10 feet below street-level. Using an extension ladder, they were able to bring her to safety and transport her to the hospital. However, once she had been freed, a minivan that had also been lodged in the sinkhole broke free and smashed into her car.
Significant and Lasting Injuries
During the incident, Scott suffered a traumatic brain injury. She also developed post-concussive symptoms and sought treatment for a range of vision problems that were related to her concussion. Traumatic brain injuries are known to cause lasting problems—the full extent of which is still relatively unknown—so Scott had a slow and challenging recovery. With the assistance of her attorneys, Scott filed a lawsuit against multiple entities, including the city of Los Angeles and the county’s departments of water and power, public works, and county sanitation districts for negligence.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Works, the sinkhole was likely caused by some unfortunate combination of excessive rain and a failing sewer. The sinkhole was a major hazard to drivers, and Scott exercised her legal right to pursue compensation for her injuries. Kevin Boyle, one of Scott’s attorneys, stated, “This was a very serious case, all due to the gross negligence of the city…She is lucky to be alive—she could have easily broken her neck from the roof crush or drowned in the sewage she woke up in after regaining consciousness.”
Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation is committed to helping clients in Temecula and Murrieta file successful personal injury claims to obtain the compensation they are owed. To learn more about how we can guide you through the process of pursuing justice and holding negligent parties accountable for their actions, call 1-888-WORK (9675) today.