The family of a woman from Taos has reached a settlement with Jefferson City in connection with a lawsuit filed in 2013 over a city crosswalk where she was struck by a vehicle.
Carol Ortbals’ husband, Phillip Ortbals, said he and his family approved of the $50,000 settlement during a hearing Tuesday afternoon before Cole County Judge Dan Green.
Under the agreement, Phillip Ortbals will receive $30,000, and his attorneys, the A.W Smith Law Firm in Columbia, will receive $20,000 costs incurred while working on this case.
Ortbals’ two sons have waived any claims to the settlement proceedings, and Phillip Ortballs has waived his right to a jury trial in this case and the ability to file for any additional monies.
In the initial lawsuit, Carol Ortbals sued Jefferson City government for its failure to study and fix “foreseeable dangers” at the intersection of Jackson and East Dunklin streets.
At 7:55 a.m. Feb. 6, 2013, Ortbals was walking uphill from a parking lot on the north side of East Dunklin Street to her place of employment at the state Employment Security Division building.
As she crossed Jackson Street, a vehicle struck her in the middle of the intersection, causing permanent and debilitating injuries, including a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma for 14 days, according to the lawsuit.
Ortbals died in October 2014.
The lawsuit accused city officials not only of refusing “to carry out these duties despite known dangers at and around the intersection” but also of knowing about them for “nearly a decade during which time defendants were made aware of the specific threat the intersection posed to pedestrians based on numerous collisions complaints from citizens, and specific requests to eliminate the hazards at and around the intersection.”
The city has since installed a new crosswalk on East Dunklin Street after the state paid for the cost of the installation in front of the Employment Security Division building to help employees safely cross East Dunklin Street from the parking lot.
The city, in the settlement, continues to deny any negligence or fault in the accident.