Restaurant Sued for Wrongful Death, No “Wrong Way” Sign

The family of a man killed on a motorcycle by a car leaving a restaurant has sued the restaurant for wrongful death, alleging the owner should have put up signs warning patrons leaving the parking lot that there was no left turn: “Wrong Way”; “No Left Turn”; and “Stop-Right Turn Only” signs.

The motorcycle driver was driving east on Pacific Coast Highway when the car attempted to make a left turn out of the parking lot of a restaurant. The car hit the motorcycle, killing the driver.

Patrons are supposed to enter from the north driveway and exit from the south driveway because the north driveway is on a hill, giving a driver an impaired view of the highway, according to the suit.

A lower court ruled that the restaurant did not have a duty to warn customers they could not make a left turn onto the highway, but the California Court of Appeals said the restaurant did have a duty under Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108. This case provides factors a court may look at to impose a duty on a defendant as a matter of public policy:

  • foreseeability of harm
  • degree of certainty of injury
  • causal connection between the injury and the breach of the alleged duty
  • the moral blameworthiness of the conduct
  • the extent to which imposition of duty would prevent future harm
  • the burden on the defendant 0f the duty
  • the cost and availability of insurance.

It is in the public interest for businesses to be responsible “citizens” and injured people to get compensation for harm. In cases where there is serious injury or wrongful death, businesses generally have insurance policies that provide more money for crash victims and their families. This is important because the victims and families should not have to carry the financial burden of a crash they did not cause.

The Appeals Court looked at the Rowland factors and found that the restaurant had a duty to put patrons on notice of that there was no left turn onto the highway because of the high degree of danger posed by attempting to turn left (or turning left and traveling the wrong way down a one way). The Court pointed to the minimal cost of preventing harm by putting up signs.

The case is Annocki v. Peterson Enterprises, LLC, B251434.

About Our Law Firm

Our lawyers help families who have lost loved ones and have wrongful death claims.  Attorney Eric Hageman, one of our lead wrongful death lawyers, has won over $16 million so far in 2014, including $4 million for a family with a wrongful death claim against a company that negligently serviced the at-fault vehicle just before the crash. Click here to request a free consultation or call 612-338-0202.

Our law firm represents clients throughout the United States and has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We are not representing either of the parties in the Annocki case.

Share this article:

Category: Accidents
Ready to talk?

We're here to listen. Tell us what happened to you.

We are not paid unless you win. Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Related Articles