Palo Alto Settles Motorcycle Accident Suit for $250k

The City of Palo Alto, California has settled a motorcycle accident suit that alleged firefighters wrongfully stopped their apparatus in the middle of the road in a non-emergency situation.

Alexis Ferreira was injured on June 29, 2015 when she rounded a curve on her motorcycle, saw the fire truck, and crashed trying to avoid a collision. She suffered a compound femur fracture, hand fractures, separated collarbone, coccyx fracture, road rash and contusions.

The suit alleged that the fire truck unnecessarily blocked the northbound and southbound lanes of Skyline Boulevard and that fire personnel failed to provide adequate warning to approaching motorists.

Ferreira’s father, David, was riding on his motorcycle with her when the accident occurred. He filed a claim for emotional distress at witnessing his daughter’s injuries as well as property damage to the bike Alexis was riding that belonged to him.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city will pay the Ferreiras $250,000, and does not admit responsibility.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
  • firemedic5100

    Well of course, it is California. “stopped their apparatus in the middle of the road in a non-emergency situation.” Obviously, they had the road blocked for a reason, not just because they felt like it. I would also question the riding experience and the speed the rider was going that made her unable to avoid a crash. Sometimes a settlement is the way to go, to limit the damages, but with no more information than this, I can’t say the insurance company made the right choice.

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