Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion discussing whether a private company that had contracted with a city to maintain back-up battery power for traffic lights could be held liable for an accident that occurred during a power outage. The case presents interesting issues that are relevant for all Maryland car accident victims who are considering filing a claim for damages against the parties they believe to be responsible for the accident that caused their injuries.
Back in 2004, the City of Glendale installed back-up battery packs in all of the city’s traffic lights so that when there was a power outage, the lights would continue to be operational. A few years later, the city contracted with the defendant, a private company, to perform all necessary maintenance on the back-up battery system.
In 2011, the traffic light at one specific intersection began showing “low voltage” indicators. For whatever reason, the battery packs were not holding a charge. In August of that year, new battery packs were installed, but no batteries were placed in the units.