Over the Memorial Day weekend, tragedy struck the Newport Beach area when five Irvine teens died in a fiery car accident. According to the initial report in CBS Los Angeles, the investigation took nearly ten hours to complete, and the scene of the accident wasn’t cleared until the next morning.
While it can be difficult to deal with the aftermath of a catastrophe like the recent car crash, it’s important to have an experienced injury attorney on your side to deal with personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits arising out of motor vehicle accidents. You can’t anticipate unexpected tragedies, but you can make sure that you have an advocate when tragedy does strike.
Details of the Newport Beach Auto Accident
On May 27 at around 5:20 p.m., an Infiniti “hit a tree and split in half” on Jamboree Road and Island Lagoon Drive, according to the Newport Beach police. When the vehicle hit the tree, it ejected four of the passengers and partially ejected the fifth passenger before it caught on fire. When officers arrived at the scene, they “found the vehicle engulfed in flames.” Four of those victims were pronounced dead at the scene, and the fifth died before arriving at Mission Viejo Hospital.
Glenn White, the Newport Beach Fire Department Captain, said that the scene of the accident “was one of the worst” he had seen in “nearly 30 years” on the job.
The Orange County sheriff identified the two male and three female teenage victims as: Abdurirahman M. Alyahan, 17, who had been a high school senior; Nozad Al Hamawendi, 16, who had been a junior at Irvine High School; Cecilia Zamora, 17, who had also been a junior at Irvine High School; and two sisters, Robin Cabrera, 17, and Aurora Cabrera, 16, who had also attended Irvine High School.
According to a friend of the victims, the group of teens were on their way to the beach when the accident occurred. Early reports indicated that “speed was a factor in the crash.”
Teen Driving Safety
If speeding was a factor in the crash, then the deaths of these Irvine teenagers unfortunately may contribute to the grim statistics surrounding teen driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teen driving safety issues are serious enough that the administration has developed “a multi-tiered strategy to prevent motor vehicle-related death and injuries among teen drivers.” Traffic crashes are actually the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, and drivers between the ages of 15- to 20-years old “are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways.” In fact, teenagers are involved in nearly three times the number of fatal car accidents as other drivers on the road.
How can we improve teen driving safety and hope to prevent future accidents like the tragic crash in Newport Beach? The NHTSA recommends that knowing the causes of teen driving accidents and addressing them head-on might dramatically reduce the rate of fatal teen car crashes. According to research, the inexperience and immaturity of teen drivers combines with other factors that increase their risks on the road. These additional factors include: speed, drinking and driving or other drug use, failing to wear seat belts, getting distracted with cell phone usage or loud music or other teen passengers, and nighttime driving.
In order to address these risk factors, the NHTSA emphasizes three key points to increase teen driving safety:
· Increase seat belt use
· Implement graduated driver licensing
· Reduce teens’ access to alcohol
If you or a loved one have questions about teen driving or about injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, a licensed car accident lawyer can speak to you today.
See Related Blog Posts:
Teenage Driver Responsible for Fatal San Diego Hit-and-Run
San Diego Vehicle Fire Raises Questions
Over the Memorial Day weekend, tragedy struck the Newport Beach area when five Irvine teens died in a fiery car accident. According to the initial report in CBS Los Angeles, the investigation took nearly ten hours to complete, and the scene of the accident wasn’t cleared until the next morning.
There’s an update on the bicycle accident that killed Eric Ringdahl, 45, of Carlsbad, Calif. Ringdahl had been wearing a helmet and was riding properly in the bicycle lane at the time of the accident. Each year, thousands of car accidents result from drowsy driving, and this recent fatal crash is no exception.
Investigators Discover Driver Asleep at the Wheel
According to an article in UT San Diego, the driver who struck and killed Ringdahl “had fallen asleep behind the wheel.” San Diego police Lieutenant Kelly Cain confirmed that the driver told police that he had been heading home from a night shift at his job in San Diego when “he fell asleep and drifted into the bike lane.” Kelly indicated that there was no evidence suggesting anything to the contrary.
Investigators from the San Diego Police Department don’t believe that drugs or alcohol played a role in the accident. However, they have issued search warrants for the driver’s cell phone records. The investigators want to check if the driver had been talking or texting when he drifted into the bike lane and crashed into Ringdahl.
Possible Vehicular Manslaughter Charge
Since the driver never intended to strike Ringdahl, if he’s charged with a crime it will be a vehicle code violation, according to Cain. Most likely, the driver, whose name hasn’t yet been released, would face a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter.
The charge of vehicular manslaughter is typically governed by the California Penal Code Section 191.5. However, that section of the code concerns vehicular manslaughter while a driver was intoxicated. Since there are no indications that the driver was intoxicated, a charge would likely fall under California Penal Code Section 192, which governs manslaughter when the driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Section 192 of the California Penal Code defines manslaughter as the “unlawful killing of a human being without malice.” There are three types of manslaughter: voluntary, involuntary, and vehicular. According to the UT San Diego article, the driver would face a misdemeanor charge under 192(c) for vehicular manslaughter. California law only allows a prosecutor to charge a driver with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter if the crash resulted from the driver’s “carelessness or inattention.” If the driver is charged, the prosecutor will have to prove that he was negligent, and that his negligence was the direct cause of the accident.
However, it’s important to consider whether the driver’s employer could be liable for the fatal accident. In this case, the driver could have been overworked, very tired, and a danger on the road.
Employer Liability for Vehicular Manslaughter?
While most courts have found that employers aren’t liable in specific cases where employees have fallen asleep at the wheel, several courts have left open the possibility for employer liability when employees are especially tired or overworked. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that all employers set up a safe driving program to keep their employees safe on the road.
In particular, OSHA suggests that employers educate their employees about the warning signs of fatigue while driving. Warning signs include:
· Inability to remember the last few miles you’ve driven
· Hitting a rumble strip or drifting from your lane
· Wandering or disconnected thoughts
· Repeated yawning
· Difficulty keeping your eyes open
· Tailgating or missing traffic signs
· Difficulty keeping your head up
OSHA reports that “drowsy driving” leads to more than 100,000 crashes each year, with 40,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motor vehicle accident or a bicycle accident, contact an experienced injury attorney today to discuss your case.
Earlier this month, a charter tour bus accident occurred just outside Yosemite National Park. According to the Los Angeles Times, the vehicle carried 17 people, including 15 passengers, a driver, and a tour guide. The passengers and tour guide sustained minor injuries in the accident, while the driver was uninjured.
Should San Diego bus riders worry about accidents? And who is liable when a crash occurs?
Details of the Bus Accident
The bus was operated by Seven Happiness Tour and Charter Inc., a company out of Burlingame, California. During a typical week, the tour company sends two charters out to Yosemite. This particular Yosemite tour started out in Burlingame on a Saturday morning in April and traveled through the San Francisco area on its way to the park. Following the tour of Yosemite, the bus was supposed to move on to Fresno, where the passengers would spend the night. On Sunday, the bus was then supposed to return to Burlingame. However, an accident drastically shifted tour plans.
The road out to Yosemite has a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour, but there are several sharp turns in the road that require the driver to slow down to 35 miles per hour. Several miles south of the park, the bus “veered off the roadway and angled up a dirt embankment,” pushing the “passenger side of the bus about four feet into the air.” At this time, several elderly passengers were tossed into the driver’s side of the bus where they sustained “minor to moderate injuries.” The driver tried to regain control of the bus, but it ended up crossing both lanes of traffic, ultimately crashing into a tree. The Fresno Bee reported that when the bus finally came to a stop after colliding with the tree, its “rear tires were two feet in the air.”
The injured passengers and tour guide were transported to local hospitals for treatment, including the Community Regional Medical Center, Clovis Community Medical Center, and Madera Community Hospital.
While the driver, Changefeng Liu, was not arrested and authorities do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident, the Fresno Bee reported that the bus had been traveling at “unsafe speeds” immediately prior to the crash. Seven Happiness has employed Liu for the past six years, and the tour company has not had any crashes in the past two years. The bus itself is being inspected for problems that may have caused the accident outside Yosemite.
Bus Accident Statistics and Liability
Bus accidents are more complicated than a typical car accident. Buses are huge vehicles that carry many people, and passengers are often free to roam around the vehicle without a seatbelt. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), large buses tend to have poor visibility on the right side, and they can weigh more than 10,000 pounds; that’s often about 5 times the weight of a typical individual vehicle. When buses are involved in accidents, they can pose serious dangers to their passengers and to other vehicles on the road.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted a study in 2009 concerning bus crashes, emphasizing that they tend to occur most often in metropolitan areas. This fact is especially important for people residing in the busy San Diego area where buses are in frequent use.
In California, buses are considered to be “common carriers” that owe a higher standard of care to their passengers. Common carriers include such transportation vehicles as city buses and commercial airlines. Under California law, these common carriers “must use the utmost care and diligence for safe carriage.” In other words, they owe a higher degree of care to passengers than private vehicles do. Given the higher standard under which buses operate, you could have a claim if you’ve been injured in a bus accident. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.
In February 2013 there was a lot of buzz regarding the latest national transportation study by Texas A&M about driving time delays -- San Diego came in 16th in the nation when looking at time wasted in congestion. Most of the local news focused on the improvement efforts for traffic in San Diego as part of longer-term transportation strategies, such as the I-15 express corridor. But what about the annoyance and frustration drivers feel when stuck in traffic? Have road rage incidents decreased with the traffic improvements in San Diego?
What was not as well reported was information about the Texas A&M Commuter Stress Index -- an indication of how stressed out motorists are San Diego roads. San Diego drivers spent an average of 37 hours stuck in rush-hour traffic. This is barely more than half the amount of time spent by drivers stuck in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. traffic. Despite this day and half stuck in a car, driver stress has declined over the past five years.
Does that mean that San Diego drivers should no longer be concerned about "road rage"?
Not necessarily. In fact, recent estimates by Allstate Insurance placed San Diego at a moderately low 124th out of top 200 metropolitan areas in the nation for "best drivers". It should be noted that the top five safest driving cities are located in areas subject to extensive snowfall, thereby keeping people inside for warmth. Even though San Diego is low on this list of 200 cities, we do have better weather conditions.
Road Rage and the Law
So, what does California law say about "road rage"? While there is no specific statute for "road rage", there are criminal penalties for "reckless driving" and potential "felony assault" if the vehicle is driven in a dangerous and aggressive manner. Aggressive driving is considered reckless. Reckless driving can land you with a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Aggressive driving can also be considered assault with a deadly weapon and lead to a charge of misdemeanor assault. With a misdemeanor charge you can find yourself in jail for up to one year. If you find yourself facing a felony assault charge, then jail time can be two to four years.
Charges of reckless driving to felony assault can lead to civil liability. Even if you are not convicted of reckless driving, you can still wind up in court defending yourself against charges of injuring another person and their property. Which means, if you are a victim of road rage, you may have a case.
If you come upon a reckless driver, give them space. If you witness acts of road rage while driving in the San Diego area, you are encouraged to call 911. If you are in an accident due to the actions of a reckless driver, you could have a legal claim.
To explore your legal rights as a plaintiff in a road rage case the Walton Law Firm will assess your case with a free consultation.
Are you currently driving a BMW along the highways of Southern California? If so, you will want to read the following closely. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times reported that BMW is issuing a recall for over 500,000 vehicles in the United States for an issue that can result in car accidents.
Who is Affected By the Recall?
If you currently drive a BMW, it’s important to know which models have been recalled. At the top of the recall list is the company’s most popular vehicle, the 3 Series Sedan. Last year, this model “dominated the small luxury car market,” with nearly 100,000 purchased in the U.S. in 2012 alone. In addition to the 3 Series Sedans, the recall also includes wagons, convertibles, and coupes from 2007-2011 model years, 1 Series coupes and convertibles from 2008-2012 model years, and the Z4 from 2009-2011 model years.
BMW is recalling the vehicles because of a faulty battery cable connector, which can fail, causing the engine to stall. A report from USA Today explained that over time, the cable connectors and their fuse box terminals can degrade, severing the electrical connection between the battery (located in the trunks of all recalled vehicles) and the fuse box (located at the front of the vehicles). If the electronic connection breaks, the cars can completely lose electrical power, triggering the engine to shut down unexpectedly. BMW admitted that in extreme cases, this loss of vehicle power can increase the risk of a crash.
While BMW reported one car accident in Canada as a result of the problem, it said that it had no knowledge of any such accidents in the United States. For all recalled vehicles in the U.S., BMW will notify the owners, and BMW dealers will replace the faulty parts and secure the new battery cable connectors with an “improved method,” without charge to the owner.
BMW’s Recall History and What It Means for Your Highway Safety
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has had growing reports of recalls in recent years from such automaker giants as BMW, Toyota, and Subaru. USA Today suggests that these recalls occurred because the automakers “use common parts on multiple models in order to save money.”
In fact, the LA Times reports that BMW has known about this current battery cable connector problem since 2010, when a 3 Series owner “experienced a ‘no-start’ condition after it was parked.” Between October and December of the same year, BMW received additional reports alerting them of the issue.
This news comes only a year after the automaker was required to pay $3 million in civil penalties after the NHTSA alleged that it failed to report vehicle defects and non-compliances in a timely manner. Under federal law, automakers like BMW are required to report safety defects to NHTSA within five business days of discovering a problem, and are then required “to promptly conduct a recall.”
The battery cable connector recall is supposed to begin in March, and BMW expects that fewer than 1% of the vehicles that have been recalled are actually affected by the described problem. In the meantime, owners can contact BMW directly for more information. Moreover, if you own one of the recalled BMW models and have been involved in a car accident as a result, you may have a claim. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to discuss your case.
[Image Courtesy of: By The Car Spy (1998 BMW 740i Individual) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
The University of Toronto in Canada examined U.S. accident data from the last twenty-seven Super Bowls and found that automobile crashes increase more than 40 percent in the hours after the Super Bowl. This study is the first attempt to quantify the issue, and was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Interestingly, the surge is highest in the losing team’s territory, possibly due to upset fans obsessing over the defeat and not concentrating on their driving, researchers say.
The researchers found that both fatal and non-fatal car crashes increased after the end of the Super Bowl, causing an additional seven deaths and six hundred extra injuries. The research study appeared to show that drinking during the game, driver fatigue because of the late hour, and distraction and disappointment among drivers whose team lost all likely contributed to the rise in accidents.
The research was inspired when one of the researchers, Dr. Donald Redelmeier, was finishing his medical training at a California hospital in the 1980s. He noticed that after the Super Bowl, things became much more hectic and more accident victims came into the hospital. As a result, Redelmeier and two others reviewed traffic accident data provided by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 1975 through 2001 for Super Bowl Sundays, along with the accident data from the previous and subsequent Sundays. The researchers used the previous and subsequent Sundays as a means of comparison, because the weather and other conditions would most likely be the same.
Compared with the previous and subsequent Sundays, there was about a 41 percent increase in fatal accidents in the four hours or more after the game, and an approximate 46 percent increase in non-fatal accidents. For the sake of reference, the 41 percent increase on the night of the Super Bowl is larger than the increase on New Year’s Eve in the United States. The average number of car accident fatalities after the Super Bowl was twenty-four, an increase from seventeen on the comparison Sundays. Similarly, approximately 1,300 people were injured on the normal Sundays and increased to 1,900 on Super Bowl Sunday, with the number of crashes increasing from almost 3,000 to over 4,000. In an interesting dichotomy, in the states with the losing team the number of crashes increased 68 percent after the Super Bowl ended, but in the state with the winning team the number of accidents only rose six percent. Accidents rose 46 percent in those states whose teams are not represented in the Super Bowl or that have no team.
In 21 of the 27 Super Bowl Sundays studied, the researchers found a surge in deaths, with the largest surge in the hour immediately after the game ended. They found no difference in the rate of accidents prior to kick-off, but a slight decrease in accidents during the game.
In light of these statistics, drivers should make sure they pay more attention or avoid unnecessary driving on Super Bowl Sundays. In addition, it would help to be careful about the amount of alcohol consumed during the game, or use a designated driver.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at least 100,000 crashes reported to police result from driver fatigue each year. Drowsy driving crashes result in approximately 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses each year. A new analysis published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report examined survey data from nearly 150,000 drivers in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis found that 4.2 percent of drivers admitted having fallen asleep while driving in the last 30 days. One problem with drowsy driving is that everyone defines it differently. However, most experts agree that a driver is drowsy when his or her alertness is appreciably lower than it would be if the driver were well rested and fully awake.
Driving while drowsy can be very dangerous. A driver that falls asleep may crash into another vehicle or other object at full speed, with no attempt to avoid the crash by steering or braking. At times, drowsy drivers might even appear to be drunk, because their driving is so poor. Some studies have found people’s cognitive abilities to be as impaired after twenty-four without sleep as with a blood alcohol content of .10, which is higher than the legal limit for driving while intoxicated in every U.S. state. Nearly 90 percent of police officers surveyed reported pulling over a driver that they originally thought was drunk and turned out to be sober but drowsy.
Some warning signs you may experience that signify drowsiness while driving include:
· The inability to recall the last few miles traveled
· Having disconnected or wandering thoughts
· Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open
· Feeling as though your head is very heavy
· Drifting out of your driving lane, perhaps driving on the rumble strips
· Yawning repeatedly
· Accidentally tailgating other vehicles
· Missing traffic signs
Certain groups, due to their lifestyle, are at a much greater risk of driving while drowsy. Younger people are most commonly involved in sleep-related crashes, because they tend to stay up late, sleep too little, and drive at night. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that young drivers are more than four times more likely to have sleep-related crashes than drivers over the age of 30. Shift workers, and other people who work long hours, are at a high risk of being involved in sleep-related crashes. Shift-workers, in particular, are often driving at night when their bodies are used to sleeping. In addition, the human body never fully adjusts to shift work, because the body’s sleep and wake cycles are dictated by light and dark cycles. Finally, people with sleep disorders, especially those that are unaware of the disorder, are at risk for sleep-related accidents. Approximately 40 million people are believed to suffer from some kind of sleep disorder. Many sleep disorders cause excessive daytime sleepiness, which raises the risk of a sleep-related crash.
Drivers can take steps to avoid drowsy driving. It is important to get a good night’s sleep, plan to take long trips with a companion, take regular breaks, avoid alcohol and medications, and consult with a doctor if experiencing frequent daytime sleepiness.
Every day buses travel the length and breadth of San Diego County, transporting residents to and from work and taking tourists around to the area’s many attractions. While bus travel is generally safe, bus accidents are still more commonplace than many people realize. Bus accidents consist of injuries sustained while riding a bus, walking on a street and being hit by a bus, or driving a car and having a bus hit your car. On average 19,000 people are injured annually in bus accidents in the United States. California, unfortunately, is among those states with the highest rate of bus accidents in the country. Municipal buses, like those transporting people to work every morning, are responsible for approximately 37% of bus accidents, while an unfortunately high 39% of bus accidents involve school buses.
Even though bus accidents are not as common as traditional car accidents, they tend to involve a larger number of injuries and more severe injuries. Most charter buses carry at least 40 passengers, while commuter buses can carry even more. When those buses are involved in an accident, there is a greater number of people to sustain a potential injury. In addition, buses lack the safety restraints available in cars. Charter buses are slightly less dangerous, because the passengers are seated and the seats are well-padded. However, a traditional commuter bus will have a significant number of passengers standing. Most commuter buses also have hard metal poles and hard plastic seating, which, when struck, can cause serious injuries. The combination of many hard surfaces, an open environment, and many standing passengers make a commuter bus extremely dangerous during an accident. Finally, because buses are so large, when they strike a pedestrian or a car, they are more likely to do extensive damage and cause more severe injuries than a standard passenger vehicle.
Bus accidents may occur for many reasons. Buses are large, heavy vehicles, which are not easy to maneuver. An inexperienced or poorly trained driver may not be able to handle the more difficult turns and traffic patterns that occur in metropolitan areas like San Diego. Drivers that are overly tired may also cause accidents, because they cannot react quickly enough to other drivers or pedestrians and may even fall asleep at the wheel. Charter bus drivers are particularly susceptible to tiredness and exhaustion, because they are forced to drive extremely long distances, sometimes overnight. Bus companies should normally assign two drivers for long distances, but some may choose to try to save money rather than protect the safety of their passengers. Finally, distractions may prevent a bus driver from giving their full attention to the other vehicles and pedestrians around them. School bus drivers are even more likely to be distracted given the large number of children on their bus talking, playing, and possibly roughhousing.
Bus accident lawsuits are different from other, more traditional vehicle accident lawsuits. Under California law, buses are considered common carriers. A common carrier is a company that offers transportation to the general public without discrimination, usually under license or authority from a governmental body. As a common carrier, buses owe an obligation to provide a higher level of safety to their passengers. In essence, a passenger may have a lawsuit against a bus company for conduct that would not result in a lawsuit if it occurred in a car.
A tanker truck, carrying a tank on its flatbed, struck several vehicles on the southbound side of Interstate 15 in Escondido on Saturday November 3, 2012 at approximately 1 PM, near the Via Rancho Parkway exit. A 47-year-old Escondido resident was driving a Freightliner tanker truck at approximately 45 to 55 miles per hour when he noticed that traffic was beginning to stop due to a sudden back-up on the Via Rancho Parkway off-ramp. The truck driver attempted to brake, but was not able to stop the large tanker before it struck the rear of a Chevrolet Malibu sedan.
The tanker truck struck the Malibu hard enough to cause a chain reaction, whereby two additional cars, a Pontiac G6 and a Toyota Solara, were struck. In addition, the Malibu became wedged underneath the tanker truck, trapping the driver inside the sedan. To make matters worse, the tanker truck then caught fire. Luckily, the Escondido Fire Department quickly arrived to put out the flames. Bystanders, sheriff’s deputies, and firefighters then removed the seriously injured driver from the Malibu. He was transported by air to the University of California San Diego Medical Center for treatment.
The occupants of the Pontiac G6, two 21-year-olds and a 1-year-old child, sustained moderate to minor injuries, and were transported to Palomar Hospital. The Toyota Solara’s sole occupant was uninjured.
The trucking industry is a vital part of the U.S. economy, generating over $250 billion each year. Unfortunately, because trucking is such a large part of the economy, many truckers are forced to work long hours without proper sleep and with too many deliveries to make. Drivers are sometimes encouraged to drive at faster speeds and for longer hours by the compensation systems in place. At times, inadequate training, due to a desire to get new drivers on the road as soon as possible, may also be a factor in a crash. Studies have shown that in over 80% of accidents involving tractor trailers, the truck driver is at fault.
While accidents involving trucks are much less frequent than those involving cars and other regular automobiles, the consequences of a trucking accident are often more serious. The simple fact that a tractor trailer is many times heavier and larger than the average car, or even sport utility vehicle, means that a tractor trailer can do a large amount of damage to the car and its occupants. In addition, due to the size of tractor trailers, they are also more likely to involve more than just one vehicle as well, like the recent accident in Escondido.
A tractor trailer’s size is not the only thing that makes them dangerous. A small percentage of tractor trailers haul dangerous or deadly cargo all over California. Truck cargo can range from chemicals like chlorine gas, which may escape if the tank’s hull is breached during a crash and can be deadly if breathed in, to flammable materials, like gasoline or propane, which may catch fire in the event of a crash. In these cases, the injuries immediately caused by the crash can be minor compared to the harm that may result from a tank breach.
Most people entering a grocery store or department store do not realize the hidden dangers that exist down each aisle. Of course, most trips to the store are routine, and you will typically leave the store unscathed. Being aware of the dangers will not always prevent you from sustaining an injury; however, it can lessen the chances of an unfortunate incident occurring.
Even before customers enter grocery stores and department stores, they may face dangerous conditions. Parking lots are the site of many, instances of car accidents or a car striking a pedestrian. With many drivers pulling in and backing out, plus those driving around looking for a parking space, it is not surprising that they are not always aware of their surroundings. Additionally, many drivers choose to drive at speeds more appropriate for a street than a parking lot, decreasing the driver’s reaction time and the pedestrian’s warning time. Unfortunately, drivers do not often use the same care in a parking lot that they do on the road. The holiday season will increase the chances of an incident occurring, with the extra cars and extra shoppers.
Department stores often place signs, displays, tables, and other objects in the aisle ways where customers are expected to walk. Not only do they clog the walking paths throughout the store and affect your ability to navigate, but they can also present trip and fall hazards. Signs, in particular, usually have somewhat long bases to compensate for their height, which tends to be at eye-level to attract the customer’s attention. When customers are walking through a crowded aisle with an armful of items or bags, they may not be able to see the floor properly and might trip over a sign or another object. The problem will soon become worse with the holiday shopping season bringing more signs and displays, as well as more shoppers.
In both department stores and grocery stores, the employees create eye-catching displays, often where products are stacked high. The person designing the display may not take into account the possibility of shoppers bumping into the display or shoppers pulling items from the middle of the display instead of the top. When a display is hit or becomes unstable, products may fall and strike customers. While getting hit with a blanket will not cause a customer harm, a falling mayonnaise jar or coffee maker could result in an injury.
In grocery stores, the produce section tends to be the area where customers are most likely to slip and fall. In order to make the produce both eye-catching and accessible, it is stacked in a way that makes it easy for the produce to fall to the ground. Once the produce is on the ground, it becomes a slipping hazard. Grapes are among the most likely fruits that cause customers to fall in grocery stores. If the store’s staff is not vigilant, they may not notice that grapes have fallen and it does not take many grapes to create a slick surface on the tile floors typically found in grocery stores.
On October 4, 2012, a retired Newport Beach policewoman, Katherine Ann Heinzel of Winchester, was convicted of vehicular manslaughter for a drunk driving accident that occurred last November. Heinzel rear-ended another car on Interstate 15 in Falbrook, both cars going hrough a guardrail and down an embankment. The other driver, 20-year-old Davieonne Kelly of Perris died at the scene and two of his passengers were injured.
In the past 30 years, drunk driving has become a focus for many governments, particularly after Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded in 1980. Groups like MADD petitioned and lobbied the government to enact stricter penalties against driving while intoxicated and to lower the limit for blood alcohol content while driving. Unfortunately, despite their efforts, drunk driving accidents still occur with alarming frequency. More than 1/3 of all fatal car accidents in California are alcohol-related.
While most of the focus on drunk driving is on the criminal side, there is also civil liability for a drunk driver when someone else is injured or killed. Unlike the criminal system, where the drunk driver will face jail time, in the civil law system, the injured person or their family may seek monetary compensation for the injuries and damage sustained by the victim and their family.
If the victim was injured in an alcohol-related crash, they may seek damages against the drunk driver. The victim is entitled to damages for medical costs. Medical costs may include any out-of-pocket expenses that the victim had to pay including insurance co-pays, prescription co-pays, and over-the-counter medications. The medical costs will also include reimbursements for any expenses that the victim’s health insurance company incurred, like hospital and doctor bills, and prescription medication costs. The victim may also seek payment for any lost wages, when they were unable to work due to the injuries sustained. The victim often also is entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of their injuries. Finally, the victim can sometimes seek punitive damages, designed to punish the drunk driver for his or her improper conduct to reduce their chance of repeated offenses.
If the victim of an alcohol-related crash is killed as a result, the family of the victim may recover against the drunk driver. Families may seek damages for loss of society and companionship, which is the loss of the positive benefits from the relationship between the victim and his or her immediate family. Spouses may seek damages for loss of consortium, which is the loss of affection, companionship and sexual relations typically enjoyed between spouses. The family may also recover for the victim’s pain and suffering, if they can prove that he or she suffered before passing on. Families may recover for the cost of a funeral as well. Finally, families may also seek punitive damages against the drunk driver in many cases.
In the event that the victim is injured or killed in a car driven by the drunk driver, the situation can become somewhat more difficult. Typically, the drunk driver or their insurance company will raise an assumption of the risk defense. Essentially, they will argue that the victim knew or should have known that the driver was intoxicated and therefore assumed any risk involved. Often they try to show that the driver smelled of alcohol or had slurred speech, to prove that the victim should have known. If they can prove that the victim assumed the risk, then the victim may not recover anything. Such defenses make it clear that drunk driving accidents are extremely complicated, and seeking legal counsel is recommended.
Car accidents between two or more vehicles have become somewhat commonplace. In San Diego, it is not uncommon to see at least one accident each day on the local news. A somewhat less common, and more confusing, situation occurs when a car hits a home.
On September 21, at 2:14 AM, a car slammed into a home on Crandall Drive near Garston Street. A young girl was asleep in her bed when the car hit the home, intruding some five feet into her bedroom. Fortunately, she was not hurt. The police suspect that alcohol was a factor in the accident.
Then on September 22, at 2:45 PM, a car driven by a man in his mid-20s struck a house in the 2200 block of Balboa Avenue. Police believe the driver had a seizure prior to the crash. The police did not say whether the residents were home at the time of the accident, but only one person was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
These two incidents illustrate the varying circumstances in which a car accident involving a home can occur. The accident may involve alcohol, a medical condition, or sheer carelessness. Accidents can happen at any time of the day, so even improved visibility during the daytime will not necessarily prevent an incident.
Everyone knows that when two vehicles are involved in a car accident, car insurance should cover the damages. However, if the accident involves both a car and a home, then the question of insurance coverage emerges. Many people in this situation wonder whether the claim should go through their homeowner’s policy or the driver’s automobile policy.
The best option in these circumstances is to seek redress through the driver’s automobile policy first. It is very likely that they were at fault for the accident because your house could not very well move out of the path of their car. Filing through your own homeowner’s insurance company could lead to higher rates in the future.
One possible wrinkle involved with filing a claim through the automobile insurance company is the amount of coverage that the driver has. If the damage to the house is extremely severe, the driver may not possess enough coverage. If you have an accident with two vehicles and the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage, then underinsurance coverage will cover the difference. With an accident involving a home, a homeowner’s policy does not have underinsurance coverage. If the driver’s coverage is not sufficient, you may be forced to seek reimbursement from your homeowner’s insurance company.
The situation becomes even more muddled if you are driving and strike your own house. Again, it is probably best to place your claim through your auto insurance policy. In this type of situation, it is most likely that you simply struck your house backing out of the garage, or something similarly lower-cost. You may want to consider the amount of your deductible as well, because many auto insurance policies have a lower deductible. One of your first steps should be to contact your insurance agent, particularly if you have both your homeowner’s and auto insurance policies with the same company. The company may have a set procedure for this type of situation.
On September 12, a driver led California Highway Patrol officers on a 50 mile high-speed chase through Southern California freeways. The suspect drove her car onto the eastbound lane of the 210 Freeway, which was in the middle of a full closure. When the officers began pursuing the suspect, she sped away, which led them from the San Gabriel Valley into San Bernardino County. At times, the chase reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.
The suspect’s car, a Chevy Corvette, hit a transition road pillar near the Highway 330 Interchange just before 4:30 AM exploding on impact. After the incident, police were trying to determine if a motorist struck by a car in the area was hit by the driver involved in the chase.
While police chases are certainly not the norm, they can and do occur. Often forgotten in the drama of the chase are the other drivers sharing the road and the police pursuers. As any driver knows, navigating the freeways of Southern California carries its own dangers, but those dangers are dramatically increased during a police chase.
Two very different situations can arise if an accident results from a police chase. In the event that the accident is caused directly by the fleeing suspect, it will be subject to a traditional personal injury process.If the accident is caused by one of the pursuing police officers, then the process and remedies are different because a governmental entity becomes the defendant.
Filing a claim against a governmental entity in California, requires adherence to the California Tort Claims Act. The victim must file a claim against a California state or local government entity within six months of the injury date. Late claims are usually only allowed under limited circumstances. After the claim is filed, the government has 45 days to respond. If the government fails to respond to the claim, it is treated as rejected and the victim has six months to file a lawsuit. If the governmental entity fails to notify the victim of a decision within 45 days, then the victim has 2 years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Under the California Tort Claims Act, the victim cannot recover punitive damages and the governmental entity can elect to make installment payments if it does not carry commercial insurance.
Filing a claim against a fleeing suspect occurs within the traditional personal injury rules.The victim has 2 years to file a claim. However, if the driver is uninsured or underinsured, their insurance will not cover all of the victim’s damages. In that case, the victim’s uninsured/underinsured coverage will cover the extra costs.
It is important to note that even if the accident is caused directly by the fleeing suspect, the victim may also be entitled to damages from the government. It is possible that the pursuing police officers failed to stop the fleeing suspect at some point before the accident or that they were negligent in some other way, prolonging the chase. The many confusing and difficult issues surrounding such claims often require legal assistance.
Based in San Marcos, California, the Walton Law Firm represents individuals who have been injured in all types of incidents, including auto accidents, pedestrian injuries, wrongful death cases, worksite injuries, and malpractice in the nursing home setting. To obtain a free consultation, please call (760) 571-5500 or fill out our online questionnaire.
See Our Related Posts:
Sheriff Deputy Strikes Pedestrian in San Marcos
Lawsuit Against City of San Diego Filed After Boy Loses Leg
A multiple-vehicle accident involving a commuter train occurred this morning at approximately 7:40 AM in Southern California. According to 10 News, the crash occurred at the intersection of Pacific Highway and Washington Street, leaving several people injured and many more shaken. Reportedly, a truck was hit by a southbound Coaster train; the truck subsequently hit a Volkswagen Jetta, all in the midst of heavy traffic. Amongst the victims, three women were injured and taken to local hospitals.
Rafael Navarettte was driving the truck involved in the accident, which was filled with fruits and vegetables. Navarette told 10 News that he had the green light to cross the intersection on Washington Street when he was hit by the train. He claims that he heard the train coming, but was unable to move out of the way because of backed up traffic and being blocked in. Passengers on the Coaster train said they could feel the brakes go on very quickly followed by a large impact. Thankfully, none of the 160 passengers on the train were injured. Upon being hit by the train, Navarrette’s truck hit the Jetta, which held a family of four. It was not known if any of the Jetta’s occupants were injured.
Investigating the Cause of Auto Accidents:
When an accident like this one occurs, the local police department will conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the crash. With many unknown factors in this case, it is impossible to determine fault without an investigation. In any automobile accident, a proper, thorough, and immediate investigation is of vital importance. It can provide substantial evidence for any future legal case.
Special Considerations for Accidents Involving Government Agencies:
When an accident involves a public entity there are special considerations that an auto accident lawyer can assist you with. For example, many accidents involving a city or state have specific requirements regarding filing a claim. Generally, the filing time limit is shorter than in a case against a private party. Knowledge of the filing time limit is extremely important because if this window is missed, your case may be barred. Therefore, in accidents like this one, where a government party is involved, it is more important than usual to contact an experienced personal injury attorney for assistance.
Getting Help in Southern California:
Do not hesitate to get in touch with an auto accident attorney if you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident. The Southern California personal injury lawyers at the Walton Law Firm can advocate for your case and protect your rights if you are facing an auto accident case. Contact the Walton Law Firm toll-free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation and to find out how we can help you. In addition, a confidential consultation can be requested through our website.
See Related Blog Posts:
Woman Seriously Injured When Dump Truck Runs Red Light
Oceanside School Bus Crashes on El Camino Real
Our San Diego automobile accident attorneys were saddened to hear the news of a tragic car accident over the weekend that left two young girls dead. According to CBS 8 News 22 year old Arlene Anna Hernandez of Chula Vista lost control of her 2005 Kia Sedona on eastbound Otay Lakes Road early Sunday evening. California Highway Patrol Officer Omar Morales reported that Hernandez’s vehicle travelled down an embankment, overturned, and landed wheels up in a lake. As the vehicle sank Hernandez and an adult male passenger in the front seat were able to get out of the car and make it to safety. Hernandez’s daughter, Lesette Hernandez Silva, and the male passenger’s daughter, Guiliana Figueroa, were in the back seat of the vehicle at the time of the crash.
It wasn’t until Border Patrol agents and several area residents arrived on the scene that the two five year old girls were pulled from the vehicle. The two girls were airlifted to Rady Children’s Hospital, where they were both pronounced dead.
Hernandez has been accused of being intoxicated at the time of the deadly crash. Her blood was drawn at the scene of the accident, the results of which are pending. She is currently being held on $400,000 bail and is facing several charges including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of felony child abuse, and two counts of DUI causing injury. On Wednesday she plead not guilty to all of her charges.
DUI Basics in California:
In California the legal blood alcohol content limit is .08 percent. Every person reaches this limit at different rates by consuming different amounts of alcohol. The body’s ability to absorb alcohol depends on many factors including weight, metabolism, and usual volume of alcohol consumption. In addition to the legal limit, impairment of driving can occur at any level of blood alcohol content. For this reason it is prudent not to drive if you have been drinking at all in order to avoid tragic accidents such as the one in this case.
Getting Help in Southern California:
Unfortuntely, DUI accidents strike far too often in the San Diego area and throughout the state. Innocent individuals are often hurt in those accidents. When that occurs, there are often two kinds of legal cases that arise. The first is the criminal case against the drunk driver. The second may be a civil case filed by those hurt as a result of the drunk driver’s negligence.
If you have been involved in an vehicle accident, it is extremely important to ensure that a proper investigation is completed. For example, if there are witnesses to the accident it is vital to make sure that their statements are taken as soon as possible while their memories are fresh. If the police fail to perform a thorough investigation, a lawyer specializing in auto accidents can help make sure that one is completed.
The San Diego personal injury lawyers represent victims that have been injured in all types of accidents, including all types of auto accidents. If you have been involved in an accident with a drunk or impaired driver you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys can help determine your rights and help you navigate the legal system. Contact the Walton Law Firm toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation regarding the specifics of your case.
See Related Blog Posts:
Our San Diego automobile accident attorneys appreciate that many auto accidents leave great devastation in their wake The severity of an accident often hinges on the smallest of details--the exact angle of a collision, the speed of a car, the presence of witnesses to help afterward and similar issues.
Incidents that might have been fatal often end up without serious injuries thanks to these fluke circumstances. For example, what could have been another devastating accident had a much happier ending thanks to two good samaritans recently. According to 10 News a Nissan Altima was involved in a crash with another vehicle at an intersection on San Miguel Ranch Road in Chula Vista California last week. The driver of the Altima attempted to leave the scene of the car crash at a high rate of speed and ended up slamming into a nearby palm tree located on the side of the road. Moments after the second collision occurred the Altima caught fire. Thankfully two witnesses came to the aid of the driver and female passenger, pulling them both from the burning vehicle. According to witnesses, upon being pulled from the vehicle the female passenger fainted. The driver of the Altima was pulled to the side of the road and appeared to have a broken foot. Both the Altima driver and passenger were taken to a local hospital. The driver was subsequently arrested by the California Highway Patrol for hit and run and on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Without the presence of the bystanders and their courage in working to help those injured, this situation could have been much worse.
Of course, this recent case is an example of yet another common theme in accidents: the negligence of one of the drivers. In this case, the party likely responsible for the first crash tried to flee the scene. Hit and run accidents occur all too frequently across America. Often these accidents leave victims with severe consequences and the person at fault is never brought to justice. The report does not provide enough details to confirm who was at fault during the first crash, however if it was the Altima driver who was at fault, the victims of the crash may have found it difficult to demand accountability if the drivers were never found.
The Southern California personal injury lawyers of the Walton Law Firm know that hit and run accidents can be amongst the most devastating accidents as no one can be held at fault for the victim’s damages. However, all car accidents, no matter how minor, can have big emotional, physical, and financial repercussions for the victim and the victim’s family.
That is where the civil justice system steps in. The basic principles are straightforward. Under the civil law, a negligent party must provide compensation to another party hurt by their negligence. The compensation is commensurate with the total losses caused by the accident, including personal injury, property damage, and emotional suffering. These cases are often negotiated before needing to go through the entire civil justice process (a trial and verdict). However, it is important not to forget that one still needs an advocate on their side when working on these issues. Insurance companies are almost always involved and their interests are virtually never aligned with those hurt in the case seeking recovery.
The San Diego auto accident lawyers at our firm have represented the victims and their families of all types of auto accidents successfully. Following an accident it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure that the proper investigation is completed in order to protect your rights, as well as to ensure that the appropriate legal action is commenced within the proper statutory time limit.
See Related Blog Posts:
Teenage Driver Responsible for Fatal San Diego Hit-and-Run
Veterans May be at Increased Risk for Automobile Accidents Upon Returning Home
A 19-year-old pleaded not guilty to a fatal hit-and-run accident that occurred early Friday morning in Rancho Santa Fe. According to an article in the U-T San Diego, the teenage driver, Jin Hyuk Byun, was charged with the killing of Angel Bojorquez. The California Highway Patrol arrested Byun on Sunday night after a neighbor informed authorities of damages to Byun’s 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche that were consistent with the details of the incident that were released to the news media. Our San Diego car accident lawyer recognizes that teenage drivers are more prone to exercise reckless driving behavior, creating a higher probability for tragic incidents such as these to occur.
Although this tragic occurrence was likely an accident and the teenage driver had no intention to harm the victim, Byun is not leaving this situation unscathed. Byun’s failure to stay at the scene of the accident has triggered a felony charge of a hit-and-run causing death. On the night of his arrest, he was taken to jail and held at $50,000 bail. His bail was raised to $1 million at his arraignment in Vista Superior Court by Judge Marshall Hockett, indicating the severity of Byun’s misconduct. The judge rejected defense attorney’s argument that Byun’s bail should be set at $100,000 given that he does not have a felony record.
During the arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod narrated the sequence of events on the night of the incident. The accident occurred at approximately 1 a.m. on Friday morning. The victim was bicycling home from work from Del Mar through Rancho Santa Fe when he was hit by Byun, who was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Avalanche and had drifted into the bike lane. After the collision, Byun fled the scene and pulled into a residential neighborhood to check the damages on his vehicle. He proceeded to drive home after checking his car. The body was discovered about an hour later by a private security officer who drove passed the scene of the accident.
In his defense, Byun stated that he knew that he had hit something but that he thought that it was a mailbox or a deer. Regardless of what he hit, a reasonable person under his circumstances would have likely stopped the vehicle to check to see what he had hit.
At this point, the cause of the accident is unknown. One can only assume that Byun was simply negligent when behind the wheel, causing him to drift into the bike lane and hit the victim. This accident certainly could have been prevented if Byun had exercised the requisite reasonable care so as to put others on the roadway out of harm’s way. Exercising reasonable care while driving involves following the basic rules of the roadway, one of which is being aware of the surroundings at all times. Clearly, Byun was in violation of this particular rule.
As mentioned in our previous post, San Diego wrongful death lawsuits are appropriate in situations such as these where a death occurred due to the responsible party’s failure to exercise safe and reasonable conduct. Surviving members of the victims have standing to bring such lawsuits.
In the event that you are the victim of an San Diego automobile accident or any other accident causing personal injury, please contact our North County San Diego injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm. We offer free consultations for individuals who have suffered injuries in all types of accidents.
See Related Blog Posts:
An automobile accident occurred on Tuesday in a residential area where several accidents have taken place in the past. According to an article in 10 News, a car veered off the road and crashed into a swimming pool behind a North County home. Our experienced San Diego automobile accident lawyer recognizes that speed is usually a factor in accidents that occur in residential areas. The probable rationale for drivers to exercise unsafe driving habits in such areas is that residential roads are not as heavily patrolled by police officers as are major roadways. This in turn creates the psychological mindset that it is acceptable to speed and/or drive recklessly since the possibility of being pulled over by a police officer is less likely.
It appears that this mindset has been adopted by several drivers who travel through Calavo Drive in a residential area located in Escondido. Bill Miller, a resident of the neighborhood, stated that there have been at least 12 accidents in the last 17 years. He has observed drivers speeding down Calavo Drive. Miller was actually a victim to one of these speeding occurrences. Four years ago, he was hit by a speeding driver on Calavo Drive as he was pulling out onto the road in a golf cart. As a result of the accident, Miller nearly lost his right foot and he has had to undergo five surgeries to fix the injured foot. It was necessary for him to use a wheelchair during his recovery.
Calavo Drive attracts speeding drivers for two main reasons: (1) the two-lane road is narrow with hills and no sidewalks, and (2) there is no posted speed limit. The fact that there is no speed limit likely misleads drivers to believe that driving at high speeds on this narrow road is acceptable. Therefore, it appears that drivers have taken advantage of the county’s disinterest in setting traffic regulations on Calavo Drive, ultimately causing a large number of automobile accidents.
Given the number of accidents that have occurred on this road, residents of the neighborhood, including Miller, have a legitimate concern regarding the safety of Calavo Drive. Despite the obvious concern, The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has expressed that making improvements on Calavo Drive is not on its five-year capital improvements program. They further stated that speed limit signs are not necessary because the area at issue is residential and drivers should know to treat it as a 25 mph speed limit zone.
Unfortunately, many drivers do not exercise the common sense that The California Highway Patrol assumes that all drivers possess. Instead, as illustrated by the situation on Calavo Drive, drivers have less incentive to drive at a reasonable speed when there are no speed limit signs, causing them to travel at high speeds. Naturally, this increases the number of car accidents, often injuring local residents. If you or someone you know if hurt in this sort of situation it is imperative to seek the advice of our North County San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm. We offer free consultations for individuals who have suffered injuries in all types of accidents.
A unique study was conducted by USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Group, a major insurer of military families, to see whether there was an increase in at-fault automobile accidents of troops returning to the United States from deployment. According to an article in The North County Times, USAA compared the driving record for each member in the study for the six months prior to deployment to their driving record after returning to the States from deployment.
The insurance company started the study in January 2007, including 158,000 troops in their observations. Our San Diego car accident lawyer recognizes that studies such as this are extremely helpful in understanding the behavior of certain drivers in order to ultimately implement precautions with the objective of decreasing the occurrences of preventable automobile accidents.
After observation of Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force troops, the study revealed that members of the United States military returning to the States within six months from deployment had an increased likelihood of causing automobile accidents. Analysts, such as Todd Rockwood who is a professor of public health at the University of Minnesota, suspect that this increased likelihood is due to the significant difference in the state-of-mind that troops have in a war zone. More specifically, unlike the safer climate in the United States, troops are under the constant stress of operating survival methods in a treacherous war zone. Such a mindset logically affects driving habits in dangerous situations, causing an individual to be less prone to following basic traffic rules for the simple reason of being concerned with dodging attacks and staying alive. Professor Rockwood states, “Things like obeying traffic signals and coming to a full and complete stop – those aren’t good in a war zone. Moving targets are harder to hit.”
From the results of the study, one can surmise that war veterans have a difficult time transitioning from a war zone to normal conditions. This explains the increase in automobile accidents among troops who have returned to the States within six months of deployment. Our San Diego automobile accident attorney appreciates that it would be unreasonable to expect troops to immediately return to a normal mindset after having experienced the unforgiving conditions or a war zone for a long period of time.
Bradley Hammond, a retired Iraq veteran, addresses this phenomenon. When he returned to the States after his deployment in Iraq, Hammond continued to perform military tactics, forcing him to display erratic driving behavior due to his preconception that enemies were constantly following him on the road. Like Hammond, the large majority of troops who have returned to the United States from war zones exude unsafe driving habits. Such behavior can greatly increase the likelihood of automobile accidents, and the study by USAA has clearly shown the correlation between war veterans and automobile accidents.
The United States military makes great efforts in helping troops returning home from war zones in making a smooth transition to their safe environment. Although such measures make a difference in the reconditioning of troops, they do not have the power to completely change the state-of-mind of a soldier to one that is operating under normal conditions. Therefore, it is unlikely to prevent all unfortunate incidents, such as automobile accidents.
Although the total prevention of automobile accidents caused by war veterans is ideal, the reality is that such accidents cannot be completely avoided. Therefore, as the USAA study shows, we can expect an increased number of automobile accidents upon the return of troops from deployments, further causing an increase in the number of individuals who have suffered injuries and are in need of compensation to help in their recovery. Our experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer can provide the requisite advice needed to help protect the legal rights of individuals who have suffered injuries from any kind of accident.
See Related Blog Posts:
Two teenage drivers were involved in a street racing crash last week that killed two passengers and caused serious personal injuries to two other passengers. It appears that the accident is a result of reckless behavior, but no drugs or alcohol use is suspected.
The two vehicles that were involved in the street racing crash were a 1999 Volkswagen Passat and a Volvo. The driver of the Passat was a 16-year-old-boy whose name was not disclosed to the public. The 16-year-old teen was accompanied by four other passengers in his vehicle. The driver of the Volvo was 18-year-old Michael Johnson.
According to a report from UT San Diego, the 16-year-old driver of the Volkswagen Passat lost control of his vehicle during the street race with Johnson, causing the vehicle to flip several times. Authorities state that the Passat was exceeding speeds of 100 mph. As a result, two passengers of the Passat, 18-year-old Anthony Foreman and 16-year-old Jayli Campbell, were thrown from the vehicle and died. The other two passengers of the Passat suffered severe injuries.
Although this unfortunate occurrence was an accident, the two teenage drivers are not leaving this situation unscathed. After being notified of an arrest warrant, the 16-year-old driver of the Passat turned himself in on Thursday morning. He has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and participating in a speed race resulting in personal injury. Johnson, the driver of the Volvo, is also experiencing the legal ramifications of his reckless behavior on the roadways. He was arrested at the scene of the accident and plead not guilty on Thursday.
Our San Diego car accident lawyer knows that when driving on our area roadways, there is always a potential risk for an unwanted accident to occur. Of course, that potential risk is increased if reckless and negligent driving is exercised. Certain car accidents, such as the street racing accident discussed here, can be prevented if the involved drivers exercise the requisite reasonable care so as to put others on the roadway (and in their own car) out of harm’s way. Exercising reasonable care while driving involves adherence to basic rules, such as obeying the traffic signals and signs, driving at a safe speed, and being aware of the surroundings at all times.
Unfortunately, some drivers—particularly younger, inexperienced drivers—fail to obey these simple rules, creating a hazard for everyone, including themselves. These situations case deaths, serious injuries, and have criminal consequences. In addition, the civil law also holds individuals responsible for their conduct if it causes harm to others. San Diego wrongful death lawsuits are often appropriate when the misconduct of others results in a death that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. These are suits that are brought by the surviving family members of the victims.
In the event that you are the victim of an automobile accident or any other accident causing personal injury, please contact our North County San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm. We offer free consultations for individuals who have suffered injuries in all types of accidents.
See Related Blog Posts:
Car ownership rates are changing. In the past, upwards of 40% of all new cars were purchased by Americans under the age of 34. However, according to new data from CNW research, the rate of purchases in that demographic has dropped to below 27% The decline in car ownership rates, particularly among the young, had been caused by a range of factors, including more urbanization, rising gas prices, expansion of public transportation options, and a tough economy. As a product of this situation, there has been a recent surge in companies offering car rental and sharing options. Our San Diego car accident attorneys understand the appeal of these options, but remind local travelers to be aware of some worrisome insurance issues as they relate to these joint car usage
Zipcar is perhaps the most well-known hourly car rental services. The company has customers who are “members” that pay to use the rental cars for various tasks on an hourly basis. RelayRides is an interesting offshoot program that allows community members to rent out their own idle cars to make extra money. These and similar companies have seen a surge in interest over the last few years.
However, there remains an obvious concern for all those who utilize these services. What happens in the event of an accident? Our San Diego County accident attorney is very familiar with the potential legal ramifications of these accidents—damages cause by auto accidents can quickly reach hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars. Are users of these rented or shared cars covered by insurance policies?
According to a New York Times story last week, concerns are being raised by many about the exposure that users of these services face in case of injury. For car-sharing services like RelayRides, personal car insurance policies generally will not provide coverage if the policy holder is taking a fee to allow another to use the vehicle. To balance this risk, RelayRides offers $1 million in coverage. However, if a particularly negligent driver uses your car through this program and causes significant damage, the individual car owner may be liable over that policy limit. Also, if the owner of the car being shared is found not to have taken good care of the car (or otherwise misrepresented the vehicle’s safety), the $1 million policy itself may not apply, exposing the owner to serious personal liability.
Our North Country injury attorneys know that similar insurance concerns have been levied against the more established names in the field, like Zipcar. Zipcar involves use of cars owned by the company, so some of the personal liability issues are less pronounced.
However, many have questioned the adequacy of the coverage given to company members. In most cases, Zipcar provides $300,000 in insurance coverage for those over 21. Those under 21, because they are deemed higher accident risks, usually only receive the state minimum coverage--$50,000 total for personal injury and property damage. Of course, that coverage is quite minimal, potentially leaving travelers exposed to significant claims on their personal assets and income.
Car sharing and car rental programs will no doubt gain in popularity in the coming months and years. As more local travelers use these services it is important to raise awareness of these insurance issues. For frequent users, it may be prudent to purchase “non-owner’s policies,” which can provide additional coverage to ensure protection no matter what might happen.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Three Imperial County families will finally be able to take another big step towards healing this week after they were able to reach a settlement with the federal government in their San Diego wrongful death lawsuit. The settlement, which was reached after two days of mediation, awards a total of $11 million to the families of three women. The suit stems from a crash that occurred on December 29, 2009 when a federal border agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement ran a stop sign and smashed into a Dodge Caravan. The Dodge Caravan contained three women and two children. The women, Sandra Garcia, Maria Nieto, and Patricia Reyes, were all killed in the collision. The children and Cole Dotson, the federal agent who caused the crash, all survived, though they did receive injuries.
According to UT San Diego, The California Highway Patrol (“CHP”) conducted an extensive investigation into the cause of the crash and the circumstances surrounding it. Their report reached the conclusion that Agent Dotson had been part of a team that was watching and following a man who had smuggled methamphetamine into the United States from Mexico. The team had been having trouble communicating with each other via radio and had resorted to using text messages to communicate. Although it was not clear whether Dotson had been texting or using his cell phone or radio at the time of the crash, the CHP did conclude that he had been traveling at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour just a few seconds before the crash. There was also evidence that he had tried to brake just before impact then attempted to speed up in order to avoid the crash.
The lawsuit was brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), a major piece of legislation that allows citizens to sue the federal government under certain circumstances. Traditionally, the government could not be sued under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. However, the FTCA allows certain kinds of suits to be filed, including some wrongful death cases. Suing the government does involve additional requirements, both on the federal and the state level. Our San Diego injury attorney appreciate that one of the most important of these requirements to be aware of is the notice rule, which states that those who wish to file suit against the government must provide written notice of the claim within six months of the incident giving rise to the lawsuit. It must be done before filing suit, and the government must be given a set amount of time to respond. If that notice is not provided, injured parties can lose their right to sue forever, even if the statute of limitations on the claim has not run.
In addition, federal agents like Cole Dotson do have immunity for some of their actions when those actions were taken in the scope of their employment duties. However, these various immunities can be overcome depending on how the suit is filed. In this San Diego injury case, the attorney for the victims argued that the wrongful death suit was not about the way he performed his duties but rather the negligent operation of his vehicle.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
A California torts lawyer and a devastated family's dogged pursuit of an unprecedented legal claim ended in a $2.37 million settlement after more than five years. The LA Times reports that In 2006,18-year-old Nicole Catsouras took her father's Porsche out for a high-speed joy ride. She lost control of the vehicle when she clipped another car and crashed into a tollbooth. The teenager was killed on impact. The crash was so severe, and the damage to Nicole's body so gruesome, that authorities did not allow the grieving parents to view her body after the accident. Unfortunately, the death of their daughter was only the beginning of a long and horrific nightmare for the Catsouras family.
At the scene of the crash, officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) took photographs of Nicole's mangled body, presumably for some kind of investigative purposes. The pictures show that the accident nearly took her head off and left her covered in blood. Those photographs were never supposed to have been seen by anyone outside the department. However, for reasons that are not clear, two officers subsequently leaked them on the internet. In the aftermath of the leak, the Catsouras family had to endure knowing that the pictures of their once-beautiful daughter were available for the world to see and comment on. They also received anonymous letters in the mail. The letters maligned their parenting abilities, criticized their daughter, and made cruel comments about the grisly pictures.
The Catsouras family spent a great deal of time, money, and effort trying to get the pictures taken down. Sometimes, they were successful in getting websites to remove the pictures, only to have them pop up on other sites a few days later. Finally, feeling that their efforts were futile, the family filed a suit against CHP. The California invasion of privacy lawsuit was originally dismissed by an Orange County Superior Court judge on the grounds that the CHP had not breached any legal duty owed to the family. Our San Diego injury lawyer knows that at that time, California tort law did not allow an invasion of privacy claim for survivors. However, Nicole's parents refused to give up, and in 2010, an appeals court reversed the dismissal of the claim and officially recognized the right for surviving family members to sue for invasion of privacy in cases involving photographs of their deceased loved ones.
The case then dragged on for over a year before finally resulting in a multi-million dollar settlement this week. As part of the settlement agreement, the CHP also pledged their assistance in trying to get the images removed from the web. Experts have told the family that they will likely never be able to completely scrub the images from the internet, but Nicole's parents have not given up on their efforts. Hopefully, because of their unrelenting pursuit of justice, the CHP will take the extra precautions to ensure that other photographs or sensitive information will not be leaked in the future, and other families will not have to suffer in the aftermath of tragedy.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Try for a moment to imagine yourself in the following situation: You go out one evening with some friends and have a few drinks. By the time you make it back to the parking garage where you left your new BMW, you realize that you have had a drink too many to be getting behind the wheel of your car. So you do the responsible thing and decide not to drive and instead take a few hours to sleep off the effects of the alcohol in the car. Now imagine that you wake up just a few short hours later to the smell of something burning, only to quickly realize that that something is your vehicle.
This is precisely what happened this week to Philip Cox, a resident of Pacific Beach. Cox, who had owned the car for only about five months, left it in a parking garage attached to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. Cox leapt out of the vehicle immediately when he smelled smoke and, upon realizing he had left his cell phone inside the car, flagged down a passerby to call 911. Firefighters arrived on the scene early on the morning of January 26, and they were able to extinguish the fire before it could spread to the gas tank or to any other surrounding vehicles. Fortunately, no one was reported injured in the fire, but a picture taken by a reporter for NBC San Diego shows that the damage to the car was quite extensive. Although the accompanying article does not say so specifically, it certainly appears from the photograph that the BMW will be a total loss.
Thus far, investigators have not been able to determine what caused the vehicle to catch on fire. As our San Diego personal injury lawyer can tell you from experience, while vehicle fires can and do occur due to high speed impacts, they generally should not happen when a vehicle is parked and sitting idle. The article does not indicate how long the vehicle had been running or even whether it was running, but given the amount of damage to the car, it is apparent that something really must have gone terribly wrong with the car.
Naturally, when something like this happens, the first inclination of a California product liability lawyer is to suspect that the vehicle must have somehow been defective. BMWs are expensive, and this one was less than six months out of the dealership, so it catching fire could very easily have been the result of some kind of manufacturing defect. Of course, there are plenty of other plausible explanations for the fire that have nothing to do with the car itself, but based on the information available, it certainly appears to have been a product defect.
It is fortunate that no one was injured in the fire, but if a defect was the reason for the fire, it is important for the company to be made aware of the problem so that more fires do not occur. California product liability law makes manufacturers liable for injuries caused by defective products and provides strong financial incentives for companies to take responsibility for making sure their products are safe for consumers.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Our San Diego car accident attorney knows that the consequences of a vehicle crash often fall far outside the usual and expected. One can never know how a person will react to an impending accident, and therefore, the direction, speed, and destruction from every accident is different, no matter how similar the events leading up to it.
A San Diego car crash that occurred just last night showed just how strange these consequences can be. According to an article by Sign on San Diego, the crash occurred just after midnight when a vehicle smashed into a power pole on Lakeview Road. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, in part because there was no one in or with the vehicle when police arrived on the scene. Local residents informed police that they heard a loud crash from outside, and then their power went out. One power pole came down, while two others sustained major damage. The power outage affected approximately 1,200 homes and businesses in the area.
But the power outage was not the only unexpected consequence of the crash. A few hours later, firefighters were dispatched to a mobile home in the area that had lost electricity. While waiting for power to be restored, residents of the mobile home lit candles for light. Although it is not yet clear exactly how it happened, the flame from one or more of the candles ignited other items in the home, causing a fire that grew and engulfed the mobile home's bathroom. Fortunately, the three people who live there were able to escape without sustaining any major burn injuries, but they did all receive treatment for varying degrees of smoke inhalation.
It is not clear whether the person who hit the power pole, once identified, can be held responsible for the injuries sustained in the fire. California negligence law requires a plaintiff in a lawsuit to show both proximate and actual cause in order to prove a negligence claim against a defendant. Actual cause can be shown by demonstrating that but for the car crash, the fire would not have started. However, proximate cause is a little trickier because it requires that there be no intervening cause. Here, the plaintiff might argue that the crash led to the power outage, which led to the lighting of the candle, which led to the fire. However, the defendant would argue that the plaintiff's negligence in allowing the candle to start a fire was an intervening cause that should relieve the defendant from liability.
The complexities of law and fact in a case like this one demonstrates just how important it is to have a qualified negligence attorney on your side when pursuing a claim against a defendant. If you have been injured in a car crash or because of someone else's negligent actions, give our office a call today. Our San Diego car accident lawyer at the Walton Law Firm has experience with a wide variety of negligence claims and can help you determine your rights and get the compensation to which you are entitled.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
A man lost his life this week in a San Diego car accident when the vehicle in which he was traveling as a passenger spun out of control. Sadly, it is a far too common story. The crash resulted from wet, slippery roads and from a driver who was traveling too fast for the rainy conditions. Most, if not all, licensed drivers have heard about the very real danger of hydroplaning when driving in the rain.
Hydroplaning occurs when oils on the road repel rain water and create a layer of water between the road and a vehicle's tires. The vehicle loses contact with the road, which makes steering difficult or impossible. It happens most often during the first fifteen to twenty minutes of a rainstorm. Although drivers are aware of the risk, there are always at least a few - and often many - drivers in every rainstorm who ignore the known danger and drive too fast for conditions.
According to an article on the Sign On San Diego website, this is precisely what happened on Interstate 15 early this week. A young Escondido woman was driving a BMW car, and her father was a passenger in the vehicle. According to police, the driver of the BMW was traveling at a higher rate of speed than was safe, given the weather conditions at the time. Police did not specify how fast she was going or whether she was likely exceeding the posted speed limit. The rain caused the BMW to hydroplane, and the vehicle turned sideways across another lane of traffic. A large passenger van collided with the BMW, striking the passenger side door and killing the man riding inside.
Our San Diego car accident lawyer works with victims in Escondido and knows that accidents like these often pose interesting legal questions, especially where the driver's exact speed before the crash is not known. The legal theory on which a case like this is based is one of negligence. Without getting into the complexities of California negligence law, for a case like this, the biggest question is likely to be whether the driver of the vehicle exercised due care.
One question that Escondido car accident attorneys will be asking is whether the woman driving the BMW was exceeding the speed limit, and if she was, by how much. If her speed is able to be determined, and she is found to have been exceeding the posted speed limit at the time, then negligence would be much easier to prove since the speed limit is essentially a declaration of how fast a driver can safely travel on that road, even in the best of weather conditions. On the other hand, if she was not speeding, she still may have been traveling too fast for the conditions that existed at the time of the accident. In order to make that determination, lawyers would have to look to how fast the other vehicles were traveling, how hard it was raining, and whether there had been any road flooding or other indications of danger.
Many of these observations will come from witnesses to the crash, which is why it is important for drivers who are in the immediate vicinity when a crash occurs to remain on the scene. Even if they did not witness the collision itself, they often still hold vital information. If you are involved in a car accident, always first take care of yourself and the others involved. If you are able, also try to get witnesses to remain until police arrive or, at the very least, to give their names and contact information so that you can get statements before memories begin to fade.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Our San Diego car accident lawyer is well aware of the growing role that cell phone use is playing in California's car accidents. Fortunately, it appears that Californians are also waking up to the dangers of talking on the phone or texting while driving. According to an article on NBC San Diego's website, a new survey, just released by the California Office of Traffic Safety, shows that California's drivers list cell phone use as their number one safety concern on the road, even ahead of aggressive driving or speeding, which ranked second, and drunk driving, which came in third.
According to the study, 38.8 percent of those surveyed listed cell phone usage as their biggest safety concern. This number reflects an increase in awareness of talking and texting while behind the wheel. Last year's study listed cell phone usage second behind aggressive driving and speeding, with only 18.3 percent of drivers listing it as a top safety concern. The trends lines are moving in the right direction. However, there remains a significant difference between saying that these distractions are dangerous and actually taking steps to eliminate those distractions to make our roads safer.
Even the federal government has taken notice of the problem and has started running radio advertisements to try to combat the problem. In addition, the government has launched a website dedicated to the issue, which can be found at www.distracteddriving.gov. The site provides access to facts about the risks of driving while your mind is on something else, with an emphasis on the most common behaviors like texting or talking on the phone, as well as eating, applying makeup, and more.
In 2008, the California Public Utilities Commission banned texting by train conductors after a conductor involved in a horrific train accident was found to have been texting at the time of the crash. The following year, the state banned texting while driving, including writing, sending, and reading texts. By including the sending of texts in the ban, the state has included even those texts that can be dictated into a smartphone instead of being manually typed.
Prior to the texting ban California also passed a law regarding the use of cell phones while driving. The 2008 law makes it illegal for all drivers to use a handheld wireless device while driving. It also bans the use of any kind of device, including a hands-free device, for drivers under the age of 18; but drivers who are 18 or older are permitted to use hands-free cell phones. In addition, in emergencies, drivers who do not have immediate access to a hands-free device are permitted to place emergency calls.
There simply is no disputing that cell phone use while driving has led to more San Diego car accidents. If you have been involved in a crash that may have resulted from a distracted driver, our San Diego personal injury lawyer can get access to the other driver's cellular phone records in order to determine whether he or she was on the phone or texting at the time of the accident.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Our San Diego car accident lawyer understands the many risks facing drivers on area roadways. Not only do travelers face potential run-ins with negligent drivers, by their own vehicle may be harboring hidden dangers. For example, General Motors (GM) issued a recall this week for certain vehicles due to a failure to conform to safety requirements. The affected vehicles are some 2012 model year Chevrolet Equinoxes and some GMC Terrain Vehicles. The recalled vehicles were manufactured between July 18, 2011 through September 6, 2011. The reason for the recall is that on these particular vehicles, the tire pressure warning light does not activate until more than 25% of tire pressure has been lost. Normally, the light should activate as soon as the 25% loss threshold has been met.
Low tire pressure is a very serious issue that drivers cannot afford to ignore. Low tire pressure can cause blowouts, which can be extremely dangerous, especially at high speeds. A tire blowout can cause a total loss of control of the vehicle. In some cases where tire blowouts occurred at high speed on a highway, the vehicle has spun out of control and crossed into other traffic lanes. The effects of an impact like this are often fatal, and if not fatal, they almost always result in severe injuries to the victims involved. Automobile manufacturers have worked to install the latest in safety design and features, but they cannot combat the devastation that occurs when two or more vehicles collide at 65 miles per hour.
If you believe your vehicle could be one of those affected, you should take it to your local GM dealer immediately. Your dealer will be able to determine whether or not it is one of the vehicles subject to recall, and if necessary, the tire pressure warning light will be repaired for free.
The San Diego injury lawyer our firm knows that when manufacturing defects like this one occur, the hope is that all of the affected vehicles can be recalled quickly and repaired before any accidents occur. However, sometimes these kinds of defects do result in injuries or even deaths before they can be discovered and remedied. When injuries or death do occur as a result of a manufacturing defect, the victims may be entitled to compensation through a San Diego products liability lawsuit. Under California law, the manufacturer of a defective product that causes injury or death to a person because of its defect can be held liable for the victim's medical bills and other financial losses, as well as any pain and suffering and emotional damage.
If you have experienced a car accident injury and think that a defect in your own vehicle or any other vehicles that were involved in the crash may have been the cause of the accident, you should speak to a legal professional as soon as possible after your crash. California allows only a limited time following a motor vehicle injury or death during which a claim may be filed. Additionally, sometimes vehicles involved in crashes are destroyed. It is important to ensure that all of the vehicles from the crash are preserved until a determination as to the existence of a defect can be properly made. Our San Diego car accident attorney can help make sure that the evidence for your case is preserved and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you have been injured in a car crash, please call our office today to schedule your free initial consultation.
See our Related Blog Posts:
A story that caught the eye of our San Diego car accident attorney appeared in USA Today this week detailing the many drivers in the United States who do not have insurance for their vehicles. According to the article, although percentage rates vary from state to state, 1 out of every 7 drivers across the nation does not have insurance. The study, conducted by the Insurance Research Council, found that 15 percent of California drivers do not have insurance. The problem of uninsured motorists has likely been exacerbated as of late because of the high unemployment rates and difficult financial times with which the nation has been struggling for several years.
When there is a car crash caused by an uninsured motorist, the victims are often left without adequate recourse against the at-fault driver. Even if the other driver is clearly the one responsible for causing the accident and the injuries that resulted from it, the victims may never be able to recover because the simply does not have the financial resources to pay a judgment. In order to protect yourself against such a situation, there are two key things that you can do. The first thing you should do is make sure that your automobile insurance includes uninsured motorist coverage, which will help to pay your bills in the event that you are involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver. This type of coverage is a major contributing factor to the cost of car insurance.
The second thing you should do if you are the victim of a collision where the at-fault party does not have insurance in our area, is get in touch with our San Diego car accident lawyer as soon as possible. In some cases, the uninsured driver may have some assets that could be used to satisfy the judgment, but he or she may try to hide or dispose of those assets before they can be sold. A California personal injury attorney can help you to discover what assets the other driver has and how to keep them available to pay a judgment against him or her.
Without taking these two steps, you run a very great risk of having no legal recourse against the person responsible for your injuries in a car accident. In addition, if you are currently driving a vehicle without insurance, it is essential that you discontinue doing so until you are able to get insurance. If you are involved in a crash, you could wind up having to pay out-of-pocket for medical expenses incurred by the parties involved, including yourself. This may be true even if you were not the one responsible for causing the collision, especially if the other driver also does not have insurance. Most people who drive without insurance think that they can control whether or not they are in an accident because they are “good drivers” or because they think they can just use extraordinary caution. In reality, San Diego car accidents occur all the time involving drivers who exercise the utmost care. The only real way to protect yourself is to have the insurance coverage that you need and that the law requires.
See our related blog posts:
The California Supreme Court recently reached a decision which many San Diego personal injury lawyers will likely find misguided in its ruling in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions. As mentioned in an article in the Sacremento Bee, the case involved a San Diego car accident victim who sustained injuries when a Hamilton Meats truck attempted to execute an illegal U-turn and struck the victim's vehicle. The victim, a woman named Rebecca Howell, sued Hamilton Meats to recover for, among other things, the cost of the medical treatment she had to receive as a result of the truck driver's negligence.
The main issue in this case became the amount of the medical expenses for which the plaintiff should be allowed to recover. Rebecca Howell was represented by several California personal injury attorneys. Her attorneys argued that she should be permitted to recover the full amount of the charges billed by her medical care providers. The attorneys for the defendant argued that she should only be entitled to recover the smaller amount that the medical providers would bill to and accept from the health insurance companies. The California Supreme Court decided that the plaintiff should not be allowed to collect any expenses above the amount incurred by either the plaintiff or the plaintiff's insurance company because those expenses were not a true “economic loss.”
The consequences of a decision like this are not limited to those that can be immediately seen. Of course the insurance interests who are always seeking to pay out as little money as possible claim that this decision was a good one, because they believe it will save their businesses billions of dollars a year. However, people often forget about the positive impacts that awards of money damages have on safety. For example, these judgments against egregious actions like the one perpetrated here often make it more likely that the company will implement policies that ensure that their drivers are operating company trucks in a safe and careful manner. Taking away some of the cost to Hamilton Meats reduces the company's incentive to put only the safest drivers on the road. Even if the court judgment is covered by insurance, reducing possible judgments also reduces the amount that Hamilton Meats pays for insurance. Either way, the cost to Hamilton Meats and other companies like it will decrease, and their incentive for ensuring that their drivers are alert and capable may decrease with it as a result of this ruling.
While the Howell case does place some limits on what plaintiffs can recover in California personal injury cases, injured parties can still recover their actual, out-of-pocket costs, as well as any costs for medical expenses that were paid by the victim's health insurance company. This is on top of other possible losses for things like lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, and many others. However, insurance companies for at-fault parties may now have more incentive to try and low-ball victims by not offering a fair and reasonable settlement. The tactics often used by companies in these situations make it vital for area victims to be represented by a San Diego personal injury attorney. If you or someone you know is caught in this situation be sure to protect your interests by talking with a legal professionals to ensure that you recover everything to which you are entitled.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Drivers, and most non-drivers, are familiar with the rules that govern the use of our roadways. For example, virtually everyone knows that drivers are required to stop at red lights and stop signs, signal before changing lanes, and yield to other drivers when merging into traffic. Most people also recognize the consequences of a failure to follow these rules, and anyone who has ever been a California car crash victim especially understands why such rules are so vital.
The traffic laws are designed with the express purpose of keeping motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists safe. When someone disobeys these laws, the results are often devastating. Such was the case for a woman who was severely injured in a crash that took place in Brawley, California. Ms. Archuleta was traveling at a speed of about 65 miles per hour when a truck driver failed to obey a “Yield” sign and entered her lane. Ms. Archuleta's vehicle collided with the truck, and she sustained injuries so severe that the once-active and energetic 78-year-old woman is now unable to do the things she loved to do or even to care for herself independently.
Ms. Archuleta did what everyone should do in such a situation: she talked to a California injury attorney. Her attorneys filed a lawsuit, alleging that the driver of the truck was responsible for the horrific injuries she sustained. As is often the case in California personal injury cases, her California car crash lawyers were able to reach an agreement with the attorneys for the truck driver. Because her injuries were so severe, they settled the case for $950,000. Much of that money will go towards paying the medical bills she incurred as a result of the crash.
If Ms. Archuleta had not called a personal injury lawyer, it is unlikely she would have received anything close to that amount. All too often, especially in cases involving particularly bad injuries, the insurance company for the driver who was at fault will call the injured person and try to get him or her to agree to settle the case. People are often tempted to take these settlements because it may sound like a lot of money and because they usually don't have the training to recognize how much their cases may be worth. Settling with the insurance company often leads to a situation where medical bills end up exceeding the amount that the insurance company paid to the injured party. Usually, an insurance company's offer to settle is an indication that the company is nervous, and the case is worth a good bit more than what is being offered.
If you are injured in a car accident, you should always speak to a personal injury attorney before making any decisions. Our San Diego car accident lawyer offers free consultations, which allow clients to determine their rights without incurring any legal fees. In addition, many a client will often not be charged a fee at all unless they are able to recover some money for their loss.
Remember, insurance companies are not interested in protecting your rights; they are interested in protecting their own wallets. Always take the time to sit down with an attorney and discuss your rights and any claims you may have. It is always a worthwhile investment of your time.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
Linda McGiness-Pleines is lucky to be alive. The Poway woman was sunbathing on Torrey Pines State Beach when, without any warning, her head was run over by a California State Lifeguard truck. McGiness-Pleines told reporters that she was lying face down on her towel in the sand when the front right tire of the lifeguard truck ran right over her head and neck..
"I heard all this crunching. After it came off of me and I was able to open my mouth and speak, I started screaming" she told 10News.
McGiness-Pleines first thought she had broken her neck. The crunching noise, it turned out, was her jaw and ribs, both suffering fractures. She also has injuries to her right shoulder and possibly her spinal cord.
How it happened is still unclear. Lifeguards have reported, lamely, that it was a busy day and that several rescues had been made, implying that the driver was tired at the time of the accident. An investigation into exactly what happened is ongoing, but it's clear this is a case of negligence on the part of the lifeguards.
"Everybody's telling me I'm lucky that I lived, but I shouldn't be here," McGiness-Pleines said. "It shouldn't have happened."
If McGiness-Pleines wanted to bring a legal action against the state lifeguard service she would first need to file a claim with the appropriate state agency. Under California's government tort claim law, anytime a person wants to sue a public entity of any kind, be it the state, city, public school, or any other publicly funded agency, it must first file a claim with the relevant agency within six months of the date of the incident. The agency then has 45 days to accept or reject the claim - they always reject - after which the claimant has six months to file a lawsuit. Failing to follow these procedures could bar the claimant from bringing a personal injury lawsuit in the matter.
A UCSD study has confirmed what all of us instinctively know - there is no amount of drinks (of the alcoholic kind) that can be considered safe when driving. The study examined data on 1.5 million fatal car accidents and revealed that alcohol was involved in approximately 34 percent of the accidents. The data allowed researchers to measure the number and severity of accidents involving alcohol starting with those found to have a .01 blood alcohol level. What the study found was not surprising: even drivers with a minimal amount of alcohol in their system are involved in more severe accidents than sober drivers. So-called “buzzed drivers tend to drive faster, are more likely to be improperly seat-belted and are more likely to be the striking vehicle in an accident when compared with non-drinking drivers."
“Accidents are 36.6 percent more severe even when alcohol was barely detectable in a driver’s blood,” researchers said. Even with a BAC of 0.01, there are 4.33 serious injuries for every non-serious injury versus 3.17 for sober drivers.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The San Diego County drunk driving accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm provide free consultations to individuals who have suffered injury or personal loss due to the negligence or recklessness of others, including cases of car accidents, motorcycle accidents, animal bites, defective road design, pedestrian injuries, worksite injuries, and wrongful death claims. Call (760) 571-5500 or (866) 607-1325 for a free and confidential consultation.
Two San Diego County teens suffered major personal injuries after separate auto accidents on Highway 76 in North County. Both accidents involve negligent drivers drifting into oncoming lanes, and neither accident was the fault of the injured teen. Remarkably, it appears that drugs or alcohol played no role in either crash.
The first accident occurred on April 20th. A 19-year-old Mira Costa College student was hit head on on her way to school at approximately 8:30 a.m. A late model Infiniti driving eastbound on Highway 78 crossed over into the westbound lane, striking the teen's car. The Jaws of Life were need to extract the victim from the car, and she was taken to Palomar Medical center where she underwent extensive surgery to repair a severely fractured right leg.
The other accident occurred on April 23rd, and involved a 19-year-old Conrad Murphy, a student at Valley Center High School. Murphy, a leader on the school's baseball team, was driving his pickup truck on Highway 76 on his way to baseball practice when he was hit head on by a Ford Ranger truck carrying pest control chemicals. The negligent driver told authorities on the scene that he inexplicably "lost control" of his truck, which probably means he was texting or otherwise distracted. Murphy suffered massive injuries and was also taken to Palomar Hospital.
According to his brother, a minor league baseball player, Murphy suffered "head trauma, a broken neck, a broken pelvis and a punctured lung." Hopefully the young man makes a full recovery and is back out on the baseball field before too long. The team played its Monday baseball game in Murphy's honor.
By all accounts Junethea Centeno was a popular girl with many friends and an active Facebook page. Sadly, the 18-year-old Palomar College student died last Tuesday after she lost control of her Honda Civic on northbound I-15 in Escondido and struck a concrete barrier where some roadwork was being performed. A memorial Facebook page has been set up with an astounding 25,000 followers.
Junethea's father, who was returning from Japan where he is stationed with the Navy at the time of his daughter's death, believes the death may have preventable. He told the North County Times that he believes the way the temporary concrete barrier was set up created a dangerous condition on the roadway, and that had it been set up correctly, Junethea's collision may have been far less severe. Her boyfriend visited the scene shortly after the crash told 10 News, "There were no orange drums, no cones, no reflectors, nothing like that."
Apparently CalTrans was contacted, but it has refused to comment on the condition of the road. In cases like this, the legal question is whether the construction zone and concrete barrier were set up in a way that created an unreasonably dangerous condition. If the answer to that question is Yes, then a lawsuit could be brought against CalTrans, and probably the construction crew doing the work, assuming it was being done by a separate third-party contractor under contract with CalTrans. Before a lawsuit can be filed, however, a governmental claim must first be made against CalTrans, and that claim must be denied.
As part of our ongoing effort to assist the victims of automobile and other types of accidents, the Walton Law Firm has compiled a list of many prominent state, county, and local law enforcement agencies, including every police and sheriff's station in San Diego County. The purpose is to allow individual looking to obtain accident or police reports a single location to locate the correct agency. Those individuals involved in accidents have a right to obtain incident reports if they were prepared by a public agency (as opposed to a private business). If you think there are agencies that should be added to the list, please let us know and we look into. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive list for who might need it.
The San Diego County personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm offer free consultations to individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including automobile accidents, pedestrian injuries, dog attacks / bites, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 or (866) 607-1325.
Rear-end auto accidents are by far and away the most common car accidents. And people tend to underestimate the harm they can cause, even if the impact is at a relatively low speed (think auto insurance companies). But yesterday afternoon a mother and her children were rear-ended in Vista on East Vista Way (at Barsby) and all the passengers were injured.
According to reports, the mother, 31, was hospitalized with what are being described as a broken leg and a knee injury after she was unable to stop her car and slammed into the back of a pickup truck stopped in front of her. Her 4 and 5-year-old daughters were in the car with her, and both suffered injuries, the younger one a fracture of her skull.
Police are still investigating the cause, and it's unclear if all the occupants were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
A report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that the number of people killed in traffic accidents on American roads dropped to its lowest level in more than 50 years. According to the report, 32,788 people died in car accidents in 2010, a 3% decrease from the previous year, and the lowest reported level of accident related deaths since 1949.
Why the decline is unclear, specifically considering Americans are driving considerably farther distances these days.
“The recession is still a little bit of a factor,” said Barbara Harsha, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, “but the big reasons are programs aimed at driver behavior, safer vehicles and safer roads.”
The use of seat belts and anti-drunk driving campaigns have also played a role, but most believe that cars continue to get safer every year. Most new cars these days come with state-of-the art safety equipment, including multiple airbags. That wasn't the case only 10 years ago. Experts believe that next generation safety features will continue to cut the death rate, including warning systems that tell a driver when he or she is drifting into another lane, or when they are traveling to close to a car ahead.
A 41-year-old Temecula woman is charged with second-degree murder after causing an auto accident that killed her 9-year-old daughter. According to reports, the woman, Karen Faye Honeycutt, may have consumed a dozen beers before getting behind the wheel of her SUV and speeding down the Vail Ranch Parkway in Temecula before losing control and striking a concrete light pole. Two other children in the car were also injured.
This is a devastating tragedy for the family. Honeycutt's 16-year-old son came upon the scene while walking home from school to learn that his mother and sister had been involved the fatal accident.
News reports state that toxicology tests show that Honeycutt's blood alcohol level was at.22 percent, over nearly three-times the legal limit. She also had signs of marijuana use in her blood.
Tragically, Honeycutt had a history of driving under the influence. She had at least to prior infractions, and apparently had her driver's license suspended from 1994 thru 2009.
Source: The Press Enterprise
A 77-year-old man driving a street sweeper fell asleep behind the wheel and veered into that path and striking a bicyclist on Friday. The cyclist, 44-year-old Suntat Peverley of Mira Mesa, died later that evening.
According to reports, the street sweeper was traveling southbound on Genesee Avenue near Clairemont Mesa Blvd. when it came up behind Peverley and, without slowing, struck him from behind. Peverley was thrown to the pavement, striking his head, and causing a severe brain injury. The victim was wearing a helmet.
What is also unclear is who the street sweeper was working for at the time of the incident, and why he was out in the busy streets during rush-hour on a Friday. Also, what is a 77-year-old doing operating heavy equipment? No doubt these answers will be sought in the legal action the family should certainly pursue.
The San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm offer free consultations to individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including automobile accidents, pedestrian injuries, bicycle injuries, dog attacks / bites, worksite injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 or (866) 607-1325.
No one was seriously injured after a spectacular crash on I-5 near Las Pulgas Road in Oceanside. An 83-year-old driver identified as Clarence Kinney was driving a Ford F-150 when he entered the northbound lanes of the free, but drove south. A quick thinking driver on the southbound side of the freeway noticed the man, and recorded the accident on his cell phone. It's pretty dramatic (link below).
It appears that Kinney doesn't even realize that he is on the wrong side of the freeway, and is just cruising at a high rate of speed. All of a sudden, he slams his truck into the concrete center divider, and caroms into oncoming lanes. The video ends there, but reports state that Kinney's truck was then t-boned by a Land Rover, which split his truck in half. The cab portion of Kinney's truck was then hit by a big rig truck, which itself lost control and crashed. A minivan also was involved.
Incredibly, no one suffered serious injuries. Kinney, who was battered like a pinball was taken to a hospital and reported to only have minor injuries. No else needed medical attention. It turns out Kinney was driving with a suspended license.
The car accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including dog attacks / bites, auto accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 or (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
Researchers from the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics a published a research paper which concludes that there is no statistical link between be the use of a cell phone while driving and car accidents.
“Using a wide array of data on crashes, ownership, cell phone plans, average call likelihood, as well as rare datasets of actual cell phone calls, we find no evidence that an exogenous rise in call volume, induced by the change in cellular prices, leads to an increase in crashes,” the researchers wrote in a paper published December 10, 2010." (Driving Under the (Cellular) Influence)
Much of the research was conducted by analyzing California cell phone use records and car accident data during peak usage times. If there was a correlation between use of the phones and crashes, the researchers posited, there should be an increase in accidents during those times of peak phone usage. There was not.
The researchers, of course, do not suggest that using a cell phone while driving is without dangers, and recommend that use of the phones be limited.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The accident and injury lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of injury-producing incidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death claims, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
A San Diego jury returned a $14.4 million verdict this week in favor of three young boys whose parents were killed in 2006 in an auto accident in Arizona. The wrongful death verdict was rendered against Mossy Ford, after a jury concluded that the dealership's negligence in performing a tire repair caused the fatal accident.
Adam Shea, one of the attorneys for the three young boys, ages 8, 5, and 3 at the time of the accident, argued that the Ford E350 van being driven by Casey Barber experienced tread separation on one of the tires while traveling on Highway 98 in Arizona. The tread separation, according to the plaintiffs, was the result of a faulty tire repair at the dealership. According to Shea, the dealership should never have tried to repair it. The jury agreed.
The case was venued in San Diego because that is where the defendant, Mossy Ford, is located. According to news reports, there were originally additional defendants, who paid $8.3 million in settlement prior to trial.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
Randall Walton of the Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of injury-producing incidents, including auto accidents, product defect cases, assault and battery, wrongful death claims, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
The California Office of Traffic Safety issued a report last week on 2009 car accident data, and included this year for the first time something called "collision rankings." These rankings a based upon data collected by the CHP and the Department of Transportation, which then compares cities with populations of 25,000 or greater.
According to the report, Carlsbad, Temecula, and Poway are some of the safest communities for drivers or cars and motorcycles, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, Temecula is rated first in cities with a population of 100,000 to 250,000, and Carlsbad is ranked ninth. In the 50,000 to 100,000 range, Poway ranks fourth safest when compared to 104 similar cities. Escondido and Oceanside don't do as well. Escondido is ranked as the fifth worst and Oceanside the eighth worst.
Here's how the numbers breakdown. In 2009, Escondido had 844 injury or fatal accidents, Oceanside had 752, Carlsbad 350, and Temecula only 116. Cities like Encinitas, Murrieta, and San Marcos finished in the middle tier.
For motorcycle accidents, Lake Elsinore is the worst place to ride. In 2009 there were 12 fatal motorcycle accidents. Lake Elsinore also takes home the prize for most alcohol-related crashes. Murrieta ranks 18th worst in alcohol related accidents, but, oddly, is one of the safest cities for senior citizens to walk in.
Want to see how your city was ranked? Click here to read the entire report.
Source: NC Times
The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of injury-producing incidents, including auto accidents, wrongful death claims, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
The settlements of most personal injury cases are confidential. Usually a defendant agrees to pay a settlement under certain conditions. One, that no liability is admitted (e.g. we did nothing wrong, but will pay you to "buy our peace"), and two, that the settlement amount will be confidential. Most injured parties agree to these terms, because, frankly, personal injury cases are about compensation, and a fair settlement is always better than protracted litigation.
In the high-profile cases involving a malfunctioning Lexus that killed an entire San Diego family, such a settlement was entered into. Last September the public was notified that the case had been settled, but that the actual settlement figure was "confidential," and would not be disclosed. Case closed.
Not so fast. While the parties to the litigation agreed in writing to keep the settlement confidential, several media organizations fought to make the settlement public, arguing to a Los Angeles judge that there were compelling public interests to release the amount. The settlement amount of $10 million was disclosed.
"At the end of the day, I think the motion to seal is not well taken," Judge Anthony Mohr said. "I think that in this case, the right to know overpowers the concerns raised by the plaintiffs and defendants."
Legal observers wondered about the amount of the settlement. The tragedy here was obvious, the loss of several lives. But under California's wrongful death law the extended heirs usually have a difficult time proving a personal loss because of relationships with decedents that are frequently not that close. For example, the loss of a father to a minor child is generally considered a greater loss than the loss of a grown child to an elderly parent (as much as these things can be measured). When the whole family is killed, who recovers?
After the release of the settlement figure, plaintiffs' attorney John Gomez said the money would be split among three households: John Saylor of Missouri, the father of the CHP officer who died in the accident; Joan Robbins of Missouri, Saylor's mother; and Fe and Cleto Lastrella, the parents of Cleofe and Christopher, who was also killed in the accident.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of injury-producing incidents, including auto accidents, wrongful death claims, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
A diner at Troy's Burgers on York Boulevard was killed when a car crashed into the restaurant. Investigators still don't know why a 19-year-old man drove into the restaurant. The driver apparently passed a roadside sobriety test and has told police that he doesn't remember what happened.
As the dramatic video below shows, the family of Martha Pena is quietly eating at a table near the registers when the car plows into them. Pena was killed, and three other people were injured.
We are seeing more and more accidents like this one, where the negligent driver is not intoxicated, but does something reckless, often with tragic results, but without explanation. Of course, in the news we don't get to see the follow up story, that explains why the accident occurred, but all indicators point to the use of a mobile device, such as texting. It would not be surprising at all to learn that his kid was texting at the time of the accident.
Also, where were the barriers? Now, it's unclear how fast this guy was going at the time he slammed into the restaurant, but most buildings with parking lots that abut them have barriers to prevent this kind of tragedy. I wonder if Troy's Burger had them.
Here is the raw video:
The personal injury and car accident lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death claims, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
A woman who became pinned between two cars in a Clairemont Mesa shopping center parking lot suffered serious internal injuries. The accident occurred at the 3500 block of Ashford Street on November 4th when the 65-year-old driver of a PT Cruiser accelerated when her car was in accidentially in reverse, not drive, and slammed into the 67-year-old victim.
The Walton Law Firm represents individuals who have been impacted by all types of accidents, including auto accidents, wrongful death claims, defective products, dog bites, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
If you live in San Diego County, there are two certainties: death, and car accidents when it rains. The heavy rains of the last few days have contributed to hundreds of auto accidents, and yesterday in North County there were two dramatic ones.
First, in Carlsbad, two motorists had to be hospitalized after a serious accident on El Camino Real near Cannon. According to reports, yesterday in the late afternoon a van driving southbound on El Camino Real lost control and crossed over into the northbound lanes, driving into the path of a small pickup truck. The truck was spun around and hit by a SUV. The driver of the van, who was at fault for the accident, and the driver of the truck were both seriously injured in the accident, and taken to local hospitals.
The other serious accident occurred on Northbound I-15 when a big rig truck crashed onto of a small vehicle. This accident occurred at nearly the same time as the Carlsbad crash, and also caused injury. According to reports, the big rig lost control in the rain and jack-knifed in the rain, landing on top of a compact car. It spilled gravel across freeway lanes and caused a huge traffic jam. The driver of the small car suffered injuries.
Based in San Diego's North County, the personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families throughout San Diego County who have been impacted in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accidents, and property injuries. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
Joel Miranda of Santa Ana will spend at least 10 years behind bars for his role in the death of Francisco Aquino, who was walking as a pedestrian when he was fatally struck by Miranda's car. According the news reports, Miranda was driving a truck during the early evening of February 1, 2009 when he was struck by a Mercedes Benz that pushed him into the pedestrian Aquino. Aquino later died at an Orange County hospital.
After the accident, Miranda fled the scene. He was later arrested at his apartment, where authorities found that his blood alcohol level was .23 over an hour after the accident. He was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter. But remarkably, this wasn't the first time Miranda had been busted for driving under the influence. It wasn't even his second or third time. This man had prior convictions for drunk driving in 1995, 1997, and 2004, and never served more than a week in jail.
His defense attorney argued that the accident, and the death of Aquino, wasn't the fault of Miranda, but by the driver of the Mercedes Benz, who started the fatal chain of events. The jury of eight women and four men didn't buy it, and convicted Miranda after about seven hours of deliberation.
Source: OC Register
The Southern California accident and injury attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, nursing home neglect, food poisoning, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or local at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation, or fill out an online inquiry.
A man driving a Volkswagen Beetle suffered a suspected brain injury when his car collided with a Mazda SUV. The accident occurred shortly after midnight on October 10 at the intersection of Graves Avenue and Pepper Drive, where there is a three-way stop sign at a T-shaped intersection. The victim had to be removed from the Volkswagen by firefighters, and was taken to the hospital with major injuries. The individuals inside the Mazda were not injured, and the cause of the car accident is being investigated.
The San Diego car accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of injury-producing incidents, including auto accidents, wrongful death claims, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
Nationwide, fatal car accidents involving drunk drivers have been on the decline. But yesterday, a study was released listing the 20 cities in the United States where drunk driving is most prevalent, and San Diego tops the list. Not far behind San Diego was Los Angeles, which ranked seventh.
Despite the trend downward, driving under the influence continues to be a serious problem. In 2008 (the most recent statistics), nearly 12, 000 people were killed in the United States because of drunk drivers. At Walton Law Firm, we have represented numerous victims of drunk driving accidents. The effort by various states to curb drinking and driving, though, has paid off. In 2007, over 20,000 people were killed in drunk driving accidents, nearly twice the number of the following year. Of all the states, Vermont has the lowest fatality rate, and Montana the highest.
Based on an Insurance.com survey of traffic violations involving drunk drivers, here are the rankings for the top 20 large metropolitan areas:
1. San Diego, CA
2. San Jose, CA
3. Charlotte, NC
4. Phoenix, AZ
5. Columbus, OH
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. Los Angeles, CA
8. San Francisco, CA
9. Austin, TX
10. Jacksonville, FL
11. San Antonio, TX
12. Dallas, TX
13. Houston, TX
14. Fort Worth, TX
15. Memphis, TN
16. Philadelphia, PA
17. New York, NY
18. Baltimore, MD
19. Chicago, IL
20. Detroit, MI
The accident and injury attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, nursing home neglect, food poisoning, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or local at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation, or fill out an online inquiry.
As most know, the high-profile case involving the death of a San Diego family when the Lexus they were driving sped out of control and crashed has settled. Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to pay relatives of the family of Mark Saylor an undisclosed sum to settle the case. How much? We will probably never know.
Most settlements of personal injury cases are confidential. Settlements are really side deals, where both parties agree to a separate settlement contract. One side, the plaintiff, agrees to dismiss the lawsuit, and the other side agrees to pay money for that dismissal. Frequently it is a provision of the settlement agreement that the settlement remain confidential, allowing the plaintiff to disclose the terms only to tax advisers, or if compelled to do so (by a governmental agency). Another common provision of settlement agreements is no admission of liability. Though the defendant is agreeing to pay money to "buy their peace," they almost always want the plaintiff to acknowledge that they are not admitting any liability. I am sure Toyota had done so here.
This case was just a pure tragedy, and the Saylor relatives hired one of San Diego finest product liability lawyers in John Gomez. The lawsuit alleged that the Lexus in which the Saylors were driving at the time of the accident was defective, and that the defect played a major role in the deaths. There is no doubt that Toyota paid a substantial sum in the case, whatever that may be.
Interestingly, the case is not over. An additional defendant in the case is Bob Baker Lexus, the dealership that provided the car to Saylor. In product liability cases, it's not just the manufacturer of the defective product that can be held liable for the defective product, but all the actors in the "stream of commerce" of that product. Since Bob Baker Lexus provided the car, it can be liable for the defect.
Naturally, Bob Baker wasn't too happy about the settlement. Its attorney told the Union Tribune that Toyota "left us hanging out there." I am certain we will be reading soon about Bob Baker Lexus's settlement with the family, and the legal actions arising from this whole sad affair will be over.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families who have been impacted by all types of accidents including auto accidents, wrongful death claims, defective products, dog bites, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, sexual molestation, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or locally at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
According to witnesses, the woman entered the intersection on a green light, when the dump truck flew through the intersection, running the red light. The victim, 39, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
News reports do not state whether the dump truck driver was cited in the accident, or what may have been the cause. In these accidents, it is usually the inattentive and negligent driving on the part of the truck driver. The other, less likely cause, is some defect in the truck.
Source: San Diego 6
The San Diego personal injury attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals throughout the region who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, nursing home neglect, food poisoning, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call toll free at (866) 607-1325 or local at (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation, or fill out an online inquiry.
Caroline McElhaney would have been 53 years old in two weeks. The mother of three, grandmother of five won't see her next birthday because of the poor judgment of a negligent driver on Interstate 15 near the Ninth Avenue exit.
Yesterday during the morning commute, the southbound driver of a 1999 Dodge Ram was coming upon stopped traffic and quickly changed lanes only to have the cars ahead of him stop as well. According to unconfirmed reports, he was speeding at the time, and unable to stop his truck, which slammed into the back of Ms. McElhaney's Mercedes Benz, which in turn rear-ended the car ahead of it. In total there were five cars involve in the accident.
Paramedics transported four people, including McElhaney, to Palomar Medical Center. The three other victims were treated for minor injuries and released.
The accident and injury attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, nursing home neglect, food poisoning, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation, or fill out an online inquiry.
Two men were looking under the hood of their broken down Honda on the left side of northbound I-5 near SR-52 when they were slammed from behind by a large sedan, which was previously hit in what was described as a 5-car accident. The crash caused the two men working on the Honda to be thrown into the air, and both were rushed to the hospital with major injuries. A woman who was with the men was also hospitalized, but her injuries were considered to be non-life threatening.
The accident caused a major traffic jam on both I-5 and SR-52. A pregnant woman in labor was heading west on the 52 when the accident occurred and got stuck in the ensuing traffic jam. The woman was able to pull off the freeway, and paramedics were called, but, due to the traffic, couldn't reach the pregnant woman in time. She delivered a baby girl on the side of road.
Because of the severity of the accident, it took several hours to clear the freeway lanes.
The La Jolla accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of incidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, elder abuse and neglect, food poisoning, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
Eight high school students and one adult were taken to a local hospital after the school bus they were on crashed and rolled over on its side. The bus accident occurred on El Camino Real at Douglas Dr.in Oceanside. Thankfully, none of the injuries appears to be serious, but one student was taken by helicopter to Scripps Memorial after complaining of numbness.
The students were on their way back to Reynolds Elementary School to participate in a tutoring program. While traveling north on El Camino at around 11:15 a.m., a car pulled out from one of the side streets and collided with the bus, causing it to veer then roll.
Oceanside police were quick to point out that the accident was not the bus driver's fault. "This has nothing to do with the safety record of the school district," Sgt. Jeff Brandt of the Oceanside Police Department told the North County Times. As a result of the accident, El Camino Real was closed down for approximately two hours.
Judy Morris, a witness, told 10news.com, “And I heard this big huge bang. It was terrible. It was absolutely terrible. I feared for them. I didn’t know what was going on inside that school bus.”
The San Diego car accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of incidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, food poisoning, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
San Diego County has had a rash of auto accident fatalities in the last few years involving elderly drivers and teenage drivers. There has been plenty of discussion in local media about when the elderly should stop driving, but now, after another tragic accident involving local high school students, questions are being asked about when a person should start driving.
Today's Union Tribune has an article entitled "Age isn’t best way to know when teens are ready to drive," which addresses these very questions. Many law enforcement and medical professionals believe that too many parents are allowing their kids to drive despite signs they are not ready.
“It’s really about parents setting limitations and reinforcing that driving is a privilege and not a right,” Bharath Chakravarthy, a professor of emergency medicine told the UT.
A study conducted last year by the Auto Club of Southern California found that while teenagers make up only 4% of the driving public in California, they are responsible for 14% of personal injury and fatal automobile accidents. The burden is on the parents, experts say, to determine when thier children have the requisite maturity to be safe drivers.
Office Brian Pennings coordinates the teen driver program in East County and believes that parents should not be afraid to impose driving restrictions if the child is showing irresponsibility in other areas of his or her life.
“If they are not responsible in other aspects of their life, what makes you think they will be responsible when they drive?” Pennings said.
Of the 2.1 million drivers in San Diego County, 77,400 are teens.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The San Diego County injury and accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been impacted or injured by the negligence of others, including those injured in auto accidents, product liability incidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
Four people were seriously injured, including a 12-year-old boy, in a head-on collision on State Route 76 near Escondido. The car accident closed the highway for more than an hour, and two helicopters were needed to transport the victims to the hospital.
According to reports, a man driving a late model Toyota Camry westbound unexpectedly swerved into eastbound lanes and collided with a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer. The driver of the Camry and his 12-year-old passenger suffered major injuries. Two individuals in their 50s were the Trailblazer, and both were seriously injured. Witnesses estimate that both drivers were travelling near 50 mph at the time of the collision, which occurred near Stage Coach Road.
CHP is still investigating what caused the Camry to swerve.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The Escondido personal injury lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent accident victims throughout San Diego County and have recovered millions of dollars for individuals involved car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian injuries, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, and medical malpractice suits. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
Car accidents caused by the use of cell phones while driving is starting to show up in statistics. Dave Downey of the Californian has a column this morning about the dangers of driving at night. While the number of people dying in car accidents has been falling over the last decade, the number of deaths occurring at night has actually increased.
According to a study by the Texas Transportation Institute the percentage of auto accident fatalities occurring is on the increase, particularly among teenage drivers.
Back in 1999, the proportion of fatal crashes caused by drivers age 20 and up that occurred at night was 38.6 percent for the nation as a whole and 42.2 percent in California. Nine years later, those percentages had increased to 41.5 percent and 45 percent, respectively. When it came to fatal accidents caused by 16 to 19-year-olds, the proportion occurring at night increased from 45.1 percent nationwide in 1999 to 49.7 percent in 2008.
The question is Why?
According to Downey, who cites researchers, the rise in deadly crashes involving teens driving after dark is the use of the cell phone. More specifically, it's texting while driving. This is becoming a very serious problem, and justifiably getting the attention of public safety organizations, and even Oprah Winfrey, who has been very active in her "No Texting" campaign.
Source: The Californian
The North County accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been impacted by personal injury accidents. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
A major car accident on Interstate 8 has claimed the lives of two people, and seriously injured a third. The accident occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. Monday morning near what is called the Ocean Beach Freeway, where I-8 enters into the Mission Bay area.
Details surrounding the accident are unclear, but witnesses say that one of the two vehicles involved was going the wrong way on the freeway. The 2008 Honda Civic containing the two individuals who died flopped over. Those individuals were identified as Rebecca O'Mara, 21, and Joshua Carr, 25. The driver of the other vehicle, a 2008 Toyota Tundra, was Adrian Villanueva, 25, who apparently suffered a broken right wrist and fractured collarbone.
CHP's website stated that it has sent a blood technician to the hospital to determine if Villanueva was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
Here's CBS News 8 coverage of the accident:
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been impacted by personal injury accidents. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
The San Diego Union Tribune is out with a story today about the risks elderly drivers pose behind the wheel, and the problem of "pedal misapplication." What is pedal misapplication? An innocuous way of describing what happens when a driver accidentally hits the gas when they think they are applying the brakes.
In the article there are several accounts of San Diego accidents caused by elderly drivers, several of them fatal (and a few covered in this blog). Although pedal misapplication can happen with a driver of any age, the evidence suggests that it is mostly elderly drivers that are the cause.
“I get these cases maybe one week, and three the next week,” said San Diego police Detective Dan Wall. “They’re usually hitting several cars or several people, dealing with very rapid acceleration, flying through the back side of a garage, driving through the front of a post office, a bank, a convenience store, a restaurant, a fast-food store.”
At the Sharp Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation Center’s Driving Performance Lab elderly drivers are tested for the driving acuity, and frequently have problems. Dr. Peter Rosen, the director of the center told the Union Tribune that it’s common for the elderly to confuse the pedals.
“As we get older, our neurological processes slow down. Our vision and reaction time slow down,” he said. “The conduction rate at which neurons fire slows, so that our brain function slows. Brain function determines driver fitness — that is 99 percent of it.”
What to do about the problem. There is an effort to change law, and require elderly drivers to obtain annual certifications to continue driving.
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including dog attacks / bites, auto accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
It appears a lawsuit will be filed against Tiffany St. Ives, a woman currently facing criminal charges of striking 17-year-old Marlene Resendiz as she tried to cross Escondido Street in Escondido, then driving away and attempting to cover up the crime. (Here's a link to some original coverage.) As you may recall, St. Ives hit Resendiz (who was about to be married), then went to great lengths to cover up the accident, including cleaning her car with bleach, repainting, and trying to sell it in Mexico. Luckily, a friend with a conscience turned her in.
Resendiz's cousin told 10News, "It's disgusting, cruel and horrible. She took much from our family that she needs to be held accountable for her actions." Now the family is rightfully filing a wrongful death lawsuit against St. Ives, who operated a sanctuary for farm animals at the time of her arrest, and who was allegedly "on the job" at the time of the accident.
The family's attorney Dan Gilleon told 10News, "It was such a heartless act on so many levels. The message that needs to be sent is if you commit a crime like this and go to great lengths to cover it up, you should spend the rest of your life paying back the family you’ve harmed so much."
Just how much? The suit is reportedly seeking $75 million in damages. Where's the money going to come from? Well, if it is established that St. Ives was indeed "acting in the course and scope" of her employment at the time of the accident, her employer (and its insurance carrier) may very well be on the hook. Good luck to the family.
The San Diego accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
A San Diego paramedic died Thursday while responding to an auto accident on SR 163. According to reports, the paramedic was hit while setting out flares at the location of a multi-vehicle freeway accident on th e 163 near Washington Street. All lanes of northbound 163 were shut down as a result.
The preceding cause of this tragedy was a Pacific storm that delivered rain to San Diego County last night and into this morning, causing multiple traffic accidents on San Diego freeways. The CHP reported only six auto accidents between midnight and 4:00 a.m., but that number leaped to 79 reported accidents by 7:00 a.m. because of the arrival of rain.
The name of the paramedic has not been released. There are reports that that driver of the car that hit him was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries:
The Escondido injury and accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been impacted or injured by the negligence of others, including those injured in auto accidents, product liability incidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
In the last year, San Diego has had a series of accidents involving elderly drivers, several of them fatal. (See an earlier blog entry). It has happened again, yesterday in the parking lot of the Bay Ho Costco on Morena Boulevard.
According to reports, an 86-year-old driver was pulling his Cadillac Coupe de Ville out of a parking spot when he apparently saw the pedestrian behind. He tried to stop his car, but accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake, and the car sped backwards, striking an SUV with solid force. A 40-year-old man who was loading plants into his car was hit and run over, and the victim’s two children, who were sitting in the car, were thrown out an open door.
Incredibly, the old man was still unable to stop his car, which, after careening off the SUV, drove over a small wall, through a fence, and into a nearby building. Witnesses say the car just kept accelerating in reverse. Truly a tragedy.
The man who was struck by the Cadillac suffered several serious injuries including a broken pelvis, a punctured lung and internal bleeding. The children suffered minor physical injuries, but will not doubt suffer severe emotional distress witnessing their father's injuries.
According to police, "pedal misapplication" is a common occurrence in elderly drivers, who apparently get confused and disoriented after stepping on the gas, and are unable to stop. The elderly driver's license has been suspended as a result of this case.
The San Diego accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
One of the few upsides to an ailing economy is the improvement in traffic accident deaths. The number of people who died in a car accident in 2009 was 33,963, which is almost 9 percent lower than the previous year.
Ray LaHood, the Transportation Secretary, was circumspect about the news. “I have mixed feelings,” he said. “I am also disturbed that we are still talking about nearly 34,000 preventable deaths a year.”
The fatality rate was 1.16 deaths for every 100 million vehicle miles, which continues a five-year trend of declining accident deaths. In addition to the faltering economy, the decline is attributed to several factors, including campaigns aimed to increase seat belt use and to prevent drunken and distracted driving, and safer roads and vehicles.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administrations fatality statistics can be found by clicking here (.pdf).
Source: New York Times
The Carlsbad personal injury attorneys at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
SANDAG officials will tell you that Highway 67 is not the most dangerous highway in San Diego County. In fact, the windy, mostly two-laned road from Lakeside to Ramona ranks 17th in priority of roads in the county in need of improvements according to SANDAG. Tell that to the numerous individuals who have been seriously injured on the road, or who, as stated by the San Diego Union Tribune, "completed their trips in a hearse."
In 2007, Supervisor Diane Jacob called a transportation summit to address concerns about the road. There were 46 recorded deaths on the road from 1998 to 2008, and in the last decade, there have been numerous lawsuits against the State of California for defects in the road. Those lawsuits argued, many successfully, that the road constitutes a "dangerous condition" and that state must address.
Attorney Ben Bunn has represented many families in cases involving the 67, and he'll tell you first hand how dangerous the road is. In a letter published by the San Diego Union Tribune last year, Bunn argued strongly that the road is unreasonably dangerous, that the fatality rates exceed the state average, and that the many injuries and deaths on the road are preventable with some alterations to the road. (Read it here .pdf)
The San Diego Union Tribune has also weighed in. It ran a series of editorials critical of SANDAG and the slow government response to the obviously risky road. The UT editorials followed a high profile incident where a young mother, Alexandria Drake, was killed in March of 2009. But while the attention has subsided, the injuries and deaths continue. (Just Google "Highway 67 Accident.") The most recent being Bridgette Hale a young mother who died on the road in January when a driver fell asleep and drifted into oncoming lanes. And more recently, a head-on crash that occurred yesterday, injuring three people.
Until there are major changes to the road, there are going to be very serious automobile accidents, and more innocent lives lost.
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been impacted by personal injury accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
The Orange County District Attorney's office has filed a civil lawsuit against Toyota Motor Company for "knowingly selling hundreds of thousands of vehicles" with defects to the acceleration system. Toyota's U.S. sales headquarters is in Torrance, but it has not yet received the complaint.
As a result of its well known accelerator problems, which infamously may have killed an entire San Diego family in August 2009, Toyota has recalled more than 6 million cars. U.S. regulators are now reporting at least 52 deaths associated with the problem, and currently there are 89 class actions lawsuits against Toyota, and many other individual personal injury and product liability claims.
Toyota is stating it is "mystified" by the most recent allegation of an accelerator mishap involving a Toyota Prius, previously not believe to have accelerator problems. James Sikes called 911 while traveling on I-8, claiming he could not slow down his Prius. After a long, harrowing drive, and with the help of CHP he was able to stop the car, which he said was accelerating on its own.
Since that high-profile incident, Sikes himself has become the focus of the story, and questions have been raised about the veracity of his claims. Not surprisingly, Sikes hired an attorney shortly after the incident, but has stated publically that he does not plan to sue. (related story)
Source: San Diego 6 News
The personal injury law firm of Walton Law Firm represents individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
The number of local Marines killed while riding motorcycles decreased for the first time in three years. The decrease is the result of new safety classes made available to Marines at Camp Pendleton and Miramar Air Force Base. In particular, the Marines are targeting those who ride sport bikes which are lightweight, powerful and popular with younger riders. The course teaches practical skills and mental training according to Richard Stampp, who works with Camp Fox Professional Services which designed and delivers the new course. The Marines have made the new course more accessible, and riders don't have to wait to get into the course. At both Miramar and Camp Pendleton, riders can enroll very soon after signing up for it. As another means to promote safety, the Marines are encouraging more experienced riders to act as mentors for those with less experience. The mentors hold monthly rides and demonstrate safe riding techniques. Marine leaders are committed to training riders and helping them avoid injury and death.
Source: North County Times.
Walton Law Firm, a North San Diego County law firm, represents accident victims throughout San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties and has recovered millions of dollars for individuals injured by car accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, and medical malpractice suits. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
It is being reported that a Fallbrook school bus struck a man in the 1700 block of Reche Road killing him. According to news reports, the man was "drawing on the road with chalk" when the bus hit him and knocked him into a Ford Explorer. The accident occurred in front of Potter Junior High School.
The driver of the 25-seat bus, Gabriel Perez, told SHP that the pedestrian looked up but did not move out of the way in time. It is not clear what the man was doing in the middle of the road.
The North County based personal injury law firm of Walton Law Firm represents accident victims throughout San Diego County and has recovered millions of dollars for individuals involved car accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, and medical malpractice suits. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
In 1996, Koua Fong Lee killed three people when, on his way home from church with his wife and daughter in the car, his Toyota Camry plowed into the rear of an Oldsmobile. At the time, Lee told police and prosecutors, and later a jury, he tried to stop his care but he couldn't. The jury didn't believe him and convicted him of manslaughter. He was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Now his case is being viewed differently. Relatives of the victims now believe Lee is innocent, and are planning to sue Toyota for the deaths. The prosecutor in the case believes the revelations about Toyota's accelerator problems support a second look at Lee's conviction. Lee has been steadfast in his innocence:
"I know 100 percent in my heart that I took my foot off the gas and that I was stepping on the brakes as hard as possible," Lee said from state prison. "When the brakes were looked at and we were told that nothing was wrong with the brakes, I was shocked."
A Toyota spokesman declined to comment on Lee's case.
The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, product liability cases, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free and confidential consultation.
The North County Times is out today with an article on highway work zone safety. The good news is that the number of accidents and injuries is down. The bad news is that doing road work is still a very dangerous way to earn a living.
Nick Nusser is a contractor from Atkinson Construction, and is one of many workers who make their living working on the side of the highway while cars race by. His "office is the freeway," which, he says, makes him keep his "head on a swivel." The only thing keeping him safe from careless drivers is a low concrete divider and an orange vest.
Despite the obvious dangers of working on the highway - which have no doubt increased with the advent of texting - the number of car accidents in work zones has actually declined over the last decade. The number of crashes statewide has declined from 6,901 in 1998 to 4,374 in 2008. Injuries and fatalities have also declined dramatically.
CalTrans officials credit the reduction in accidents and injuries to safety campaigns, which will continue as a result of a $3 million grant. High fines have also played a role in the improved safety, officials say.
Here are some statistics for accidents, injuries, and fatalities in highway work zones:
6,901 vehicle collisions
4,374 vehicle collisions
1998 San Diego / Imperial Counties
330 vehicle collisions
2008 San Diego/Imperial Counties
319 vehicle collisions
The Poway accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, worksite injuries, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
In the 24-hour period after the death of 15-year-old Lucas Giaconelli, the Vista boy hit by a car while riding his skateboard, police were looking for a hit-and-run driver. Those of us who followed the story assumed it was some felonious character, who probably fled the scene because he (or she) had something to hide. When a 92-year-old man turned himself in the following day, people were stunned. Not necessarily because he was 92, but because despite a major impact - his car was damaged - he was totally unaware that he had hit a person.
This terrible tragedy raises the question: when is someone too old to drive? For friends and family of Lucas, this man should never have been allowed to have his license renewed. As one said, “If he's 92 years old, why is he on the streets driving?"
There has been a recent spate of San Diego car accidents involving elderly driver, including fatalities. Last year an elderly driver slammed into a Chula Vista home. In October, a 75-year-old man drove of a cliff in Point Loma and died when he mistook the accelerator for the brake. And just a few months ago, an elderly man with no known medical problems drove into an El Cajon Carl’s Jr., killing a diner.
According to the DMV, a California driver over 70 years can not renew a driver's license by mail, but there are no other mechanisms in place monitor elderly drivers. It is really up to individuals and families to determine when it is too old to drive.
The car accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals throughout San Diego County who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian injuries, construction accidents, property injuries, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
State Route 94 in San Diego's Spring Valley area was closed for a period yesterday after a head-on car accident that claimed the life of one man, and injured three teenagers, one of whom plays minor league baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays' organization.
According to reports, a Ford Mustang being driven by 18-year-old Andrew Bellatti was traveling eastbound on SR-94 when, for unknown reasons, the Mustang crossed over the center line, colliding head-on with a Dodge Caravan. The driver of the van, a man in his early 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A passenger in the van, and Bellatti and his passenger, all suffered major injuries, but all are expected to survive. Police say there is no evidence that drugs or alcohol played a role in the accident, and they currently do not believe the Mustang was racing. They do believe, however, that Bellatti was traveling at approximately 80 mph at the time of the accident.
The Channel 8 News video here discussed the accident:
The San Diego County personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals throughout San Diego County who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accidents, property injuries, and wrongful death cases. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation or submit a confidential online form.
A 66-year-old man was killed while eating breakfast at his local Carl's Jr. when an SUV plowed into the building, striking the man. According to employees, the man, whose name has not been release but is said to have been a college professor, ate breakfast at the same table every morning.
What instigated the accident is unclear, but a witness told CHP that the driver of the SUV, a 74-year-old man, was at a nearby ATM just before the accident, and was upset with the ATM machine. He apparently stormed away from the machine, leaving his card still in the slot, and speeding away in his car. Seconds later, witnesses say, the SUV smashed into the restaurant, which witnesses described as sounding like a bomb going off.
It's unclear how fast the man was driving when he struck the building, but witnesses estimated he was travelling between 45 to 50 mph. A witness attempted to help the driver, who was also injured in the crash and bleeding from the head, but he said he didn't need assistance.
At least one witness believed the SUV driver acted intentionally. Yolanda Vasquez told San Diego 6 news, "there comes this car from the bank...zooming so fast...he meant it. He didn't give a crap."
Investigators are investigating the cause of the accident, and don't believe that drugs or alcohol played a role.
The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals throughout San Diego County who have been injured in all types of accidents, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accidents, and property injuries. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
Instead of planning a baby shower, the family and friends of Elaina Luquis-Ortiz are planning a funeral. The 21-year-old Lemon Grove woman was killed during the early morning hours of News Year Day when she pulled over on the shoulder of I-805 to help a friend change a flat tire, and a drunk driver named Joseph Anthony Venegas lost control and swerved and crashed into Ortiz's car at a high rate of speed.
Ortiz's husband, Frank Ortiz, a marine, was devastated. He told the Union Tribune, "I lost two in a tragic accident - my wife and son." The unborn son was going to be named Romeo Francisco.
According to reports, Ortiz and two friends were waiting in her car, just behind the vehicle with the flat tire when the accident occurred. Tragically, her husband had gone out looking for her when he drove upon the scene, which he described as looking "like a movie." He was informed at the scene that his wife had died. The two other women were taken to area hospitals with major injuries.
Ortiz was originally from Los Angeles, and moved to San Diego eight years ago. A memorial service has been set for 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday at Paradise Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2701 E. 8th Street, in National City.
Here is a Channel 8 video about the accident:
UPDATE (1/7/10): This sad story of the death of Elaina Luquis-Ortiz continues to generate a lot of media attention. Today's Union Tribune has a long story abut the arraignment of the drunk driver, Joseph Venegas, and his failure to attend. Apparently Venegas is being held in "medical isolation" in County Jail, presumably because of injuries he received in the New Year's Eve crash.
Venegas absence upset the victim's family, who was eager to see and confront the man who took Elaina's life, and that of her unborn child.
To read the entire story, click here.
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been impacted by accidents of all kinds, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accident. Call (760) 571-5500 for a free consultation.
A cab driver and his passenger were nearly crushed this morning when a 25-ton steel pipe rolled of a commercial truck and fell off a freeway overpass, landing on the unsuspecting taxi driver and his passenger.
According to news reports, the large pipe, which measured 25-feet long and 8 feet in diameter, was being transported to a local dam project. The truck carrying the pipe lost control on the interchange from SR-125 to eastbound I-8, and struck the barrier wall. The impact with the wall caused the huge pipe to break free and roll over the bridge, dropping 75 feet on top of the cab.
Inside the taxi was its 47-year-old driver and a 73-year-old passenger. The two were taken to local hospitals with undisclosed injures, but both are expected to survive...amazingly.
CHP officers investigating the accident are saying that the driver of the big rig was traveling at an excessive speed.
The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accident. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
There has been a lot of news lately about the Toyota recall, and specifically about the family that was killed in San Diego when the accelerator on their Lexus got stuck, causing them to barrel down the road at speeds in excess of 100 mph, and ultimately run a red light and clip a law abiding vehicle. What we haven't heard much about is the condition of the law-abiding driver. Yesterday the Union Tribune did a profile story about him.
Phillip Pretty has no real memory of the accident itself. All he remembers is turning left from SR-125 onto Mission Gorge Road, then getting hit by the white Lexus. "It was more or less lights out," he told the UT. He didn't learn that the family inside the Lexus was killed until he woke up in the hospital.
It's been over three months since the fatal car accident, but Mr. Pretty is still far away from a complete recovery. The impact left him with a serious concussion and memory loss, which he has been told may last awhile. He has difficulty with simple memory tasks such as remembering someone's name. He also suffered a knee injury, which may require surgery, preventing him from surfing or bicycling, activities he enjoyed before the accident.
Adding insult to injury, while Mr. Pretty had medical insurance, it wasn't enough to cover all of his medical expenses. As a delivery driver, he's not rich, so he has retained a personal injury lawyer to try to recover some of what he has lost. He hasn't decided whether to pursue a lawsuit, but he rightfully agrees that someone should be held accountable.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
Walton Law Firm represents accident and injury victims throughout San Diego County and has recovered millions of dollars for individuals involved car accidents, pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, and insurance disputes. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
More than seven years after a San Diego jury awarded Benetta Buell-Wilson $369 million against Ford Motor Co. it looks like she will finally get paid. Ms. Buell-Wilson suffered a severed spinal cord when the Ford Explorer she was driving overturned on I-8. The jury found that Ford failed to follow its own engineer's advice to widen the Explorer wheel track or lower its center of gravity because the safety improvements would have been too costly. Ford, the jury determined, knew its Explorer would roll easily but deliberately ignored the risk.
After the verdict, Ms. Buell-Wilson was subject to relentless appeals by Ford, who must have spent additional millions to try to get the verdict overturned. It had some success in getting the award reduced, but its final attack was an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the punitive damages assessed against it ($246 million by the jury, reduced to $55 million afterward) were unconstitutional and illegal under California law. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Dennis Schoville and Lou Arnell, two of San Diego's finest personal injury lawyers, believe Ms. Buell-Wilson may finally get some of the justice a jury believed she deserved. It’s been seven years since the verdict and she hasn’t seen a penny. Mr. Schoville told the San Diego Union Tribune, “It’s been a long haul, but this is the end of the line for Ford.”
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families in cases in personal injury cases, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, motorcycle accidents, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, and insurance disputes. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
The subject of mild traumatic brain injuries has received quite a bit of press lately thanks to the NFL. Research is showing that in addition to knee and back injuries, NFL players are suffering brain damage in previously unreported numbers. In response to the growing public concern, the co-chairmen of the NFL's committee on brain injuries resigned from the group last week after much criticism that the group had been downplaying the brain-injury risks associated with the game.
What is well known is that over 1.5 million suffer from an injury to the brain every year, and nearly 50,000 die. While brain damage can be triggered by a myriad of causes, the biggest culprit is trauma to the head. These brain injuries, commonly referred to as traumatic brain injuries, are the easiest to diagnose and usually have the greatest impact on a victim's life.
Within the definition of traumatic brain injury there are numerous types, the most common being concussion, diffuse axonal injury, coup-contrecoup injury, and contusion. Though football has been in the news recently as a cause of traumatic brain injury, the majority of brain injuries are caused by an accident of some sort, or an intentional act.
As a personal injury firm, we most-often see brain injuries in the context of motor vehicle accidents, including both cars and motorcycles. But brain injuries can be caused by other sources, including prescription medications, slip-and-fall incident, and crimes (battery).
If you suspect you, or someone you know, has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, it is important that you get appropriate medical treatment right away, and get a proper diagnosis. Here is an excellent resource from the Mayo Clinic on the symptoms of traumatic brain injury.
The Walton Law Firm represents personal injury victims throughout San Diego County and has recovered millions of dollars for individuals involved car accidents, pedestrian accidents, nursing home malpractice, motorcycle accidents, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, and insurance disputes. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation. Vista Personal Injury Lawyer.
For many years now, the issue of medical insurance payments to health care providers who care for personal injury victims has been a source of confusion and frustration among personal injury lawyers. When an injured person incurs medical bills as a result of an accident, and then recovers money from the person/entity that caused the injury, should the injured person be allowed to recover the full amount of the medical charges billed by the health care provider (doctors, hospitals, etc.), or simply be allowed to recover the amount paid by the health insurance carrier?
The answer to that was cleared up a bit yesterday when the Fourth District Court of Appeals (Div. One) issued its opinion in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions.
Rebecca Howell suffered very serious injuries when the car she was driving was struck by a truck being driven by one of Hamilton Meats’ employees, who made an illegal U-turn. Ms. Howell suffered a major spinal injury that required two surgeries and substantial post-surgical care. She sued Hamilton Meats, who admitted fault, and a trial was held on the amount of her damages.
At trial, a jury awarded Ms. Howell a total amount of $689,978.63, which included payment for all past medical care, and for her general pain and suffering damages. After the trial, the Hamilton Meats moved to reduce the past medical expense portion of the verdict by a whopping $130.286.90 from $189,987.63 to $59,692.73, since that was the amount her health insurer (PacificCare) had paid to her health care providers. The trial judge agreed, holding that Ms. Howell would receive a windfall if she received more money for past medical care than she would ever personally be liable for. Ms. Howell appealed.
After some excellent lawyering (a hat tip here to San Diego lawyer John Rice), the court of appeal reversed the trial judge, and ordered that Ms. Howell be awarded the full amount of the medical bills that were billed by her health care providers without any reductions. The court held that any trial court reductions was a violation of the long-standing collateral source rule (payments from source independent of negligent party should not be deducted from damages), and that the wrongdoer, here Hamilton Meats, should not receive the benefit from Ms. Howell’s own responsibility and thrift, or any side deals made between PacificCare and her doctors. In short, why should Hamilton Meats get a $130.286.90 break simply because Ms. Howell, the person it injured, purchased good health insurance?
The court said:
Under California’s collateral source rule, Howell, as a person who as invested in premiums to assure her medical care, should receive the benefits of her thrift; and Hamilton, as the party liable for Howell’s injuries, should not garner the benefits of Howell’s providence. The law allows Howell to keep this collateral source benefit for herself because she was responsible for the benefit by maintaining her own insurance.
You can be sure the defense bar and insurance industry will be appealing this one. But it’s hard to argue the logic in terms of providing justice. If private health insurance companies and private doctors and hospitals agree to price reductions for care, why should defendants who cause injury get the benefit?
To read the entire Howell opinion click here (.pdf).
The Walton Law Firm represent accident victims throughout San Diego County and has recovered millions of dollars for individuals involved car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian injuries, uninsured motorist claims, animal bites, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, and medical malpractice suits. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
Two people suffered serious injuries in unrelated car accidents in San Marcos this weekend. The first occurred on Saturday afternoon when a woman driving a GMC Yukon was traveling north on Woodland Parkway and was t-boned by a Dodge truck as she entered the intersection at Rancheros Drive. The force of the collision caused the Yukon to overturn, and partially ejected the driver, who suffered serious injuries in the crash. According to news reports, the woman is expected to survive.
The other accident occurred at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Pico Avenue near the Corky Smith Gym. In that accident, a Saturn car hit a pedestrian as he was trying to cross Pico. The collision caused the pedestrian to roll onto the Saturn's roof and on to the road. Interestingly, the man got up from the scene and walked to his home nearby. His daughter called for medical help, and the mane was taken to Palomar Medical Center with a broken arm and a skull fracture.
Source: North County Times
The North County based Walton Law Firm represents accident victims throughout San Diego County and has recovered millions of dollars for individuals involved car accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, and medical malpractice suits. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
In the last month, two local high school students have died in automobile accidents, riding in cars with other teenagers who escaped the same accident with little or no injury. The difference? The teens who died were not wearing seat belts.
KUSI did a report this morning on the importance be belting up when in a car, and provided some pretty startling statistics. According to the officer interviewed in the video below, nearly every auto fatality can be attributed to one of three things: speed, driving under the influence, and the failure to wear a seat belt. As to seat belts specifically, despite a 95% compliance rate, more than 50% of local car accident deaths can be attributed to the failure to buckle a seat belt.
Take a look at the video, which has some dramatic footage.
The Walton Law Firm provides free and confidential consultations individuals involved car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian injuries, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, and medical malpractice suits. Call (760) 607-1325.
The National Highway Safety Administration and Toyota Motors issued a warning today about potential dangers related to the floor mats possibly jamming accelerator pedals on almost 4 million Toyota cars. Toyota Motors and the agency, however, have known about the problem for more than two years.
Questions will no doubt arise about Toyota's awareness of the problem, after four people were killed in San Diego when the accelerator became stuck in a Lexus. This tragedy was blogged about here, and was a true tragedy, killing a husband and wife and their minor daughter.
According to reports, the NHSA began investigating the connection between floor mats and stuck accelerators after receiving five complaints from owners of the Lexus ES, model year 2007. That led to a 2007 recall of all-weather floor mats. Further investigation found that the design of the accelerator pedal allowed it to become easily entangled in the floor mat if the mat was not secured adequately. The research also disclosed that drivers were also likely to have difficulty shutting off the engine because Lexus uses a button instead of a key.
Source: New York Times
The Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Estate planning services are also available, including the creation or modification of wills and trusts. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
The City of San Diego has taken action to crack down on taxicabs that do not meet safety regulations. In field inspections that were started last year, approximately 85% of all taxicabs inspected did not meet health and safety requirements.
“That's unacceptable,” said John Scott, Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) taxicab administrator. “We need to see the numbers drop, and we need to see them drop substantially.”
MTS regulates taxicabs outside San Diego, in cities including El Cajon, La Mesa and Poway, but the proposed regulations would apply only to taxis in San Diego proper. The regulations, if approved, would give MTS inspectors the authority to suspend or revoke operating permits for offenses that currently only result in a warning. While most of the offenses are for safety violations, the most common a failure to participate in annual inspections of the vehicles, MTS also wants to crack down on cab drivers who do not maintain adequate insurance or fail to provide customers a complete receipt.
According to Scott, it is time provide the public with an assurance of safety. “You're not going to get off with a warning anymore,” he said. “Basically, the hand-slapping days are over.”
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The car accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families throughout San Diego County who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents, including automobiles, motorcycles, and commercial trucks. Call today for a free and confidential consultation (760) 607-1325.
A San Diego school bus with no kids onboard lost control and crashed into a house in Emerald Hills this afternoon, injuring three people. According to reports, none of the injuries were life-threatening, but all three were taken to the hospital.
Just prior to the accident the bus reportedly rear-ended a minivan stopped at a stop sign, then careened into the house at Guymon Street and Euclid Avenue. It is being reported that the bus driver may have had a seizure. The house was empty at the time of the crash. Two of the three injured people were in the van, including a 44-year-old woman and a 9-year-old boy.
The home suffered extensive damage, and the Red Cross was called into assist the homeowners.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The Walton Law Firm represents individuals and families in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, and nursing home abuse and neglect. Estate planning services are also available, including the creation or modification of wills and trusts. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A San Marcos woman out walking with her dog at 6:30 a.m. on October 19th, was struck by a car and injured. The dog was killed. The woman was walking on Amber Hill Road in the Old Creek Ranch area of San Marcos. She was flown to the hospital by paramedics. The driver remained at the scene. Information about her injuries has not been released.
Source: The North County Times.
The lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been harmed in all types of auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, and all other accidents causing injuries. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
The National Traffic Safety Administration is out with a study on traffic safety, and reporting that fatalities caused by traffic accidents were down 7% this year from the same period last year, and down 18% since 2005. It is unclear what's behind the drop, but several possibilities were suggested. People may be spending less time behind the wheel because of the economic recession. More probably is the increased use in seat belts. The report states that 84% of drivers are now consistently using seat belts, a record.
Car safety is also given attribution to the declining death rates. As older vehicles are replaced with new cars that have air bags, modern braking systems, and stability-control, the car accident death rates were expected to improve. While the number of car accident death is still very large - 16,626 already this year - the trend is encouraging.
We still have far too many families losing their loved ones every day in this country from distracted driving, drunk driving and not using their seat belt,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
Though fatalities rates are declining among automobile users, the opposite trend is occurring with motorcycle riders. The number of fatalities in motorcycle accidents rose steadily through the end of 2008, reaching 5,290, more than doubling the number of motorcycle accident-related deaths a decade ago.
The complete NTSA report can be found here (.pdf).
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The Walton Law Firm represent accident victims throughout San Diego County and has recovered millions of dollars for individuals involved car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian injuries, uninsured motorist claims, defective products, construction accidents, slip and fall injuries, dog bites, insurance disputes, and medical malpractice suits. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
The Torrey Pines High School teenager who crashed his car after a late night party in Rancho Santa Fe will not be tried as an adult for the death of passenger Alexander Capozza. The driver Branden Butler was not hurt in the accident, and is currently being held in Juvenile Hall on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving.
As discussed in an earlier blog entry, the car driven by Butler was carrying five people when in veered off La Granada Road at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning and rolled several times. Another passenger Jamie Arnold suffered serious injuries in the accident, and is currently hospitalized. Three others, including Butler, were not injured. According to new accounts, the three uninjured individuals were all wearing seatbelts, while Butler and Capozza were not.
Police are still investigating the accident, and trying to determine where the boys, all high school students, obtained alcohol that night, and whether there were adults involved.
Many lessons can be taken away from this sad tragedy, the type of which seems to strike at least one local high school every year. Just over a week ago a Vista teenager from Ranch Buena Vista High School died in a car accident. Let's hope the high-profile nature of this preventable car accident saves other lives down the road.
The San Diego personal injury lawyer Randy Walton at the Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents and malpractice matters. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A local high school student was killed, and another injured, after a serious car accident in Rancho Santa Fe early Sunday morning.
According to reports, five high school students from Torrey Pines High School piled into a Mazda 3 after a party and headed north on La Granada near the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club. The car was speeding, and the driver failed to negotiate a curve, careening off the road and through a wooden fence before rolling over.
One boy in the car was ejected, and suffered major head and died at the scene. Another boy, Jamie Arnold, suffered serious injuries and was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital. Arnold was also not belted at the time of the accident. Two other passengers and the driver were not injured.
The driver, a classmate of the boys, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drunk driving and taken to Juvenile Hall.
Source: North County Times
The San Diego personal injury and accident lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents, including automobile accidents. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
This is not shocking news, but a recent study has show that teens who own their own cars are involved in more car accidents than teens who don't. These findings are a result of a study performed at Children's hospital of Philadelphia, and will be published in the October issue of Pediatrics.
While getting a car is frequently a right of passage for American teens, there is a grim downside. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, claiming the lives of more than 5,000 every year. "With teen drivers, you have to recognize that it is a public health issue," said Dr. Jeffrey Weiss, an Arizona pediatrician and co-author of the report. The report revealed that in 2007 there were more than 7,000 deaths in accidents involving teens, and over 250,000 teenage drivers were injured.
The study surveyed more than 5,500 teens in grades nine though 11.
Another article of interest: Strict rules from parents lead to safer-driving teens.
Source: 10 News San Diego
The automobile accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families throughout San Diego County who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. Call today for a free and confidential consultation (760) 607-1325.
A weird and tragic car accident story was reported in the San Diego Union Tribune this morning about a fatal accident occurring last Sunday at the same intersection where a family of four lost their lives almost about a month ago.
According to the article, a female teenager driving a black Ford Ranger rear ended a Chevy Cavalier on Parks Avenue in La Mesa. Instead of stopping, the teenager fled the scene, and the driver of the Chevy, Taya Chase, attempted to follow. While in pursuit, the pickup truck, for reasons unknown, stopped in the middle of an intersection. Chase pulled up along side it to address the driver who had just hit her, but no words were exchanged. According to Chase, the teenager gave her a "scary glimpse," then she "looked right through me," before putting the truck in reverse and speeding away.
This story then becomes truly tragic. The teen turned her truck around and proceeded to get on eastbound I-8. She was followed by another driver who had witnessed the hit-and-run on Chase. The truck sped from I-8 to northbound SR-125, where it allegedly plowed through the intersection at Mission Gorge Road, and broadsided a car being driven by Pamela Marabeas, 53, of Santee. The high-speed collision crushed both cars, killing Marabeas and critically injuring the teen. Police believe that the teen may have run a red light.
Police are still investigating the accident, and no doubt more information will come about the teen and the reasons for her careless and reckless conduct.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The San Diego personal injury and accident lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents, including those caused by defective products. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
The San Diego County's Health and Human Services agency issued a report last week announcing that accidents are the leading cause of death of San Diegans under the age of 15. Approximately 25 children die each year in accidents in San Diego County, mostly by drowning, falls, or in motor vehicle accidents.
Mary Beth Moran, of Safe Kids San Diego, said child-restraint laws and helmet laws have helped reduce the number of injuries and deaths involving kids, but that drowning deaths remain a particular problem.
“We've had 30 near-drownings in the month of July, the highest peak in the past 10 years that we've seen,” Moran said.
The report is a collection of data from local hospitals, and from the medical examiner's office. Other findings include:
• Suffocation and choking is the leading cause of death for infants;
• Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death of children ages 1 thru 4;
• Motor vehicle accidents, namely car accidents, are the leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14.
Moran reiterated that parents should make sure children learn to swim at the earliest possible age, and that kids are properly restrained in moving vehicles.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The injury and accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represents individuals and families throughout San Diego County who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, dog bites, and other personal injury matters.
A Caltrans worker and a probationer picking up trash on the side of the freeway were seriously injured today when a northbound car veered on the shoulder and struck the two. The accident occurred along the I-15 in City Heights.
According to reports, a 1992 Infiniti J30, traveling northbound, swerved to the right, and collided with the slow moving Caltrans van, then hit the man and the woman standing in front of it. Paramedics transported the two to Scripps Mercy Hospital for treatment of what were described as major injuries.
The driver of the Infiniti was also taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. She told investigators that she was looking for coins in her center console when the accident occurred.
The car accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A five-car accident in Carlsbad triggered by a suspected drunk driver left several people injured. The accident occurred last Thursday, when driver Juan Galvan was speeding on southbound El Camino Real and ran a red light at Tamarack Ave. Galvan broadsided one car, the collided with three others.
Galvan had to be removed from the car by fire fighters, and was suspected as suffering from a broken leg. Five other people involved had minor injuries.
Several more photos of the accident can be found by clicking here.
Source: North County Times
The car accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
In what can only be describe as an unbelievable tragedy, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer, his wife and daughter, and his brother-in-law were all killed yesterday when the accelerator on the Lexus they were in got stuck, preventing the car from stopping or slowing down. What makes this car accident tragically ironic is that the CHP officer who was killed, Mark Saylor of Chula Vista, was a safety officer, who inspected school buses, ambulances, tow trucks and armored vehicles.
According to reports, the Saylor family was traveling in the Lexus on northbound 125 at around 6:30 pm. Someone from the vehicle allegedly called 911 to report that the accelerator was stuck. Shortly thereafter, the Lexus – a 2009 ES 350 on loan from Bob Baker Lexus - then traveling at more than 100 mph, clipped the back of an SUV and veered of the road, went through a fence, then burst into flames.
At the time of the accident, Saylor was nearing his 20th anniversary with the CHP. "He was an outstanding officer who was well-respected by his peers," CHP Officer Brian Pennings said.
Investigators are trying to figure out what caused the accident, and if the allegations about the stuck accelerator are true. In 2007, Toyota Motor Corp. recalled more than 30,000 floor mats used when allegations were made that that the mats would slip forward and jam the accelerator. Could there be a connection?
The San Diego accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A former lawyer for Toyota Motor Sales, USA, has alleged that the car company intentionally withheld evidence of its vehicles’ structural shortcomings in hundreds of injury and death cases arising from rollovers. Toyota counters that the former employ has an ax to grind, since he was fired for alleged misconduct on the job.
The information arises from a lawsuit filed by the former employee, attorney Dimitrios Biller, who claims that his complaints about the withholding of evidence cost him his job. The lawsuit must contain some damaging information as Toyota has brought a motion to seal the complaint, claim it contains confidential information.
Biller worked for Toyota from 2003 to 2007, and helped the car company defend rollover lawsuits that blamed the company for design defects involving instability and weak roofs. Most of the cases involve serious personal injuries or death. His complaint claims that Toyota refused to produce emails and other electronic data, which is required by the rules of discovery. Biller complained to his superiors, and alleges those complaints led to a "forced" resignation.
Here's the most interesting part: Biller was given a $3.7 million severance package. $3.7 million? That's quite a severance package for an in-house lawyer.
Source: CBS News
The San Diego accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals injured or killed in car and motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, product defect cases, slip and falls, dog bites, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation, or fill out an online contact form.
A jarring public service announcement video produced by the Gwent Police Department in Wales, England is creating a bit of controversy due to its graphic enactment of a horrible car accident. The accident is caused by a girl who attempts to send a text while driving. In the 4-minute video, a car full of young women talking to one another as the driver tries to send a text. In the process of texting, she veers over the center line, and drives head on into oncoming traffic. The ensuing crash show what happens to the girls inside the car, and it is not for the squeamish. The video certainly gets the point across.
WARNING: GRAPHIC ENACTMENT OF SERIOUS CAR ACCIDENT
Source: Huffington Post
The auto accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A San Diego man died on Saturday on Del Dios Highway after the truck he was driving cross the yellow line and collided head-on into a cement truck. 33-year-old Jose Alvarez didn't have a chance; the cement truck was loaded with cement at the time and weighed 25 tons.
The auto accident occurred just before noon, when, police believe, Alvarez crossed over into oncoming traffic when he tried to pass two other vehicles. According to witnesses, the crash was truly head on - "head light to head light."
While police do not believe that alcohol was involved in the accident, they are still looking for witnesses. Anyone with information is encourage to call the Oceanside CHP office at 760-757-1675.
Source: North County Times (story/photo)
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals injured or killed in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and malpractice matters. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation, or fill out an online contact form.
The Chula Vista police are looking for the driver of a silver or blue compact car that ran a red light and struck a 13-year-old girl.
According to reports, the reckless driver was heading east on Palomar Street at around 11:00 p.m. on July 22. The victim was crossing in the crosswalk at the intersection near Del Taco. Witnesses say that the unidentified driver blew through the red light at approximately 50 mph and never slowed down before hitting the girl.
The girl suffered major leg injuries, including a severe fracture and a shattered knee. She remains hospitalized three weeks after the accident.
So far, police have been unable to identify the driver, and all leads have dried up. Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call Officer Rusty Nelson at (619) 476-5300.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
The San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, work site incidents, animal bites, elder abuse, and malpractice matters. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
Early indications are that tire failure caused an SUV to skid off Interstate 5 yesterday and down an embankment before catching fire. The accident claim the life of Juan Antonio and Belinda Sandoval, their two daughters, ages 11 and 4, and a 6-year-old niece. The family was on their way from San Pedro to Legoland in Carlsbad.
According to witnesses, one of the SUV's tires blew out and Juan Antonio lost control, but police say skid marks would have to be evaluated before cause can be determined. Witnesses ran to the vehicle to try to help, but the vehicle was engulfed in flames and they couldn't get close.
This is a real tragedy. The L.A. Times described Juan Antonio as the manager of a Burger King restaurant who had been married to his wife for 12 years. The family lived in San Pedro, and was very close to his extended relatives.
Source: Los Angeles Times
The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families throughout Southern California who have been injured in automobile accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and all other injury-producing incidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A multi-vehicle car accident on Interstate 5 claimed this life of a 9-year-old Los Angeles girl early this morning. Early indications are that the car accident was caused by a drunk driver, Michael Wright of Commerce, who was arrested on manslaughter charges.
Just after midnight, traffic on northbound I-5 was moderate to heavy, and vehicles were traveling approximately 25 mph when a Lexus in the fast lane swerved to avoid a car just ahead of it. The Lexus struck the car, and then careened off an hit a Honda CRV and a big rig truck before coming to rest.
The young girl was a passenger in the Lexus, and was taken to Rady Children's Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Two other drivers suffered personal injuries in the accident, one of whom was taken to Tri-City Medical Center.
The Carlsbad-based accident and injury law firm of Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals injured or killed in all types of accidents, including automobile accidents, construction accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and malpractice matters. Call (790) 607-1325 for a free consultation, or fill out an online contact form.
A five-year-old boy was killed at the intersection of Big Bear Boulevard and Pine Knot Avenue when he was struck by a car while crossing the road with his mother and brother. All three individuals were struck by an SUV. The boy’s mother and 8-year-old brother were taken by helicopter to Loma Linda Medical Center with moderate injuries.
Police need help in locating the hit-and-run driver, who witnesses say was driving a dark-colored SUV, maybe a green Chevy Tahoe. Anyone with information is encouraged to call (800) 78-CRIME [782-7463].
Here is a news video piece about the accident:
Source: KABC TV-Los Angeles
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families throughout Southern California who have been injured in automobile accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and all other injury-producing incidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving is more dangerous than previously thought. According to the study, texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident 23 times greater than not texting.
It was thought that talking while driving and texting while driving posed a similar risk, but study establishes that is not the case.
"Talking/listening to a cell phone allowed drivers to maintain eyes on the road and were not associated with an increased safety risk to nearly the same degree," the report said. "These results show conclusively that a real key to significantly improving safety is keeping your eyes on the road."
The study also revealed that just before crashing, drivers spent nearly five seconds distracted from the road by their cell phones, which, at 55 mph, is enough time to cover the distance of a football field. The study concludes that texting while driving should be banned in all states. California currently has such a ban.
Walton Law Firm LLP is a personal injury law firm that represents injury and wrongful death clients throughout San Diego County. Contingency fee arrangements available and consultations are always free. Please call toll free at (866) 607-1325.
There is remarkable video of a passerby stopping at the scene of a car accident on the wesbound 10 freeway in Los Angeles and pulling a young girl from the fiery wreckage. While three of the four passengers were able to get out of the car on their own, one young girl was trapped, until the Good Samaritan pulled her out just as the car was becoming engulfed in flames.
Watch it by clicking here.
Source: KABC TV - Los Angeles
The San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals injured in all types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, assaults, dog bites, and malpractice matters. Call (790) 607-1325 for a free consultation, or fill out an online contact form.
In 2003, researchers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a long-term study to examine the risks posed by drivers who use cell phones while driving. Then, as know, it was believed that distractions caused by such use represented a serious safety risk to drivers on American roadways.
But because of politics, the study was never undertaken. According to reports, the NHTSA chose not to make public copious amount of research data for fear of angering members of Congress.
After discovering this fact, two consumer groups filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain documents, which will be published on the New York Times website (click here). The researchers estimate that drivers using cell phones account 240,000 in 2003, including 922 fatalities. The research also suggested cell phone users were four times more likely to cause an auto accident than other drivers, and that hands-free devices did not remove the risk of crashes, because it was the conversations that were distracting, not necessarily holding the phone.
According to news reports, the concerns was that the agency would use the information to lobby states to pass laws prohibiting cell phone use in the car, laws strongly opposed by the powerful cell phone industry.
California State Senator Joe Simitian, who tried to pass a hands-free cell phone law from 2001 to 2005 over industry objections, said the research data would have been helpful in moving hands-free legislation forward, “Years went by when lives could have been saved.”
Source: New York Times
The San Diego accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, pedestrian accidents, and all other accidents caused by negligence. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A 68-year-old woman in a motorized wheelchair was hospitalized Thursday after being struck by a car in Mission Valley. According to witnesses, the woman was crossing in the cross-walk at the 200 block of Camino de la Reina at approximately 6:30 p.m. when a man driving a Ford Mustang not paying attention to the road, turned and ran into the woman. The woman was thrown from her wheelchair and suffered a fractured femur.
The San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of automobile accidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
It was a relatively quiet Fourth of July weekend on San Diego County roadways. Countywide there were 88 arrests for suspicion of driving under the influence, which represents 66 fewer arrests than last year. While that is great news, the story wasn't the same on North County roads, where 21 people were arrested, an increase of three from the previous year.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department reported four arrests in Encinitas, San Marcos and Vista each, and the arrest of an intoxicated bicyclist in Solana Beach. Carlsbad only reported on DUI arrest.
Only one serious accident was reported in North County. In Oceanside, a 30-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries when he was ejected from his vehicle after crashing near the intersection of Lake Boulevard and Evening Canyon.
The North County accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals who have been injured in all types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, and construction accident. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A CalTrans subcontractor was seriously injured yesterday while parked on the shoulder of Route 125 near Grossmont College Drive in El Cajon. According to reports, the injured man was performing work for Cal Trans, when an out-of-control pickup truck driving southbound on the 125 veered off the road and into the worker, who was thrown 30 feet in the air. The pickup driver was allegedly speeding, and was also cited for driving without a license.
The CHP said that accident occurred at approximately 2:25 p.m. The injured worker was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital where he is being treated for several fractures and internal injuries. He is expected to survive.
The World Health Organization issued a report on worldwide road safety and found that a majority of the world's countries lack adequate laws to confront the growing problem of traffic injuries and deaths. According to the study, severe injuries caused by traffic accidents are the world's ninth leading cause of death.
The study, which was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, also found that well over 1 million people die annually in car accidents, and that more than 20 million are injured. Nearly half of the fatalities involve pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles.
“Very few people realize that this is one of the leading causes of death in the world, and the leading cause of death for young people,” said Dr. Etienne Krug, director of injury and violence prevention programs at WHO. “Because it happens one by one, here and there and not in mass events, it gets less attention.”
The report is based on data from a 2008 survey of 178 countries, representing 98 percent of the world’s population.
To view the entire study click here. (Large .pdf file)
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accident. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
The California Highway Patrol is looking for a hit-and-run driver that caused a multiple vehicle crash that killed three people, including an 11-year-old girl. The accident occurred last Tuesday afternoon on Highway 74 in Riverside County.
According to witnesses, an Acura or Honda was tailgating a Ford Fusion then tried to pass it, sideswiping the Ford and pushing it into an Audi. That caused the Audi to strike a Mitsubishi Montero head on. The driver of the Acura or Honda, which had tinted windows and spinner wheels, was described as a man in his early 20s with a tattoo on his left forearm.
Two of the three people killed were Cedric Page and his niece 11-year-old Zaria Williams. Williams was going to graduate from the fifth grade on June 10.
Any person with information about the hit-and-run crash is asked to call the CHP at (951) 769-2000.
MSNBC is out with an article about the dangers posed by heavy, drowsy truck drivers. Apparently a growing number of trucking firms are screening drivers who are considered at risk for sleep apnea, and then pay to monitor and treat divers who have the condition.
Sleep scientists at Harvard University have renewed a call for federal regulations that requires mandatory testing of all obese drivers. These researches believe that there is a strong link between obese drivers and truck crashes that kill more than 5,200 and injure over than 100,000.
“Screenings of truck drivers will be ineffective unless they are federally mandated or required by employers,” said researcher Dr. Stefanos N. Kales.
There have been numerous reports of truck accident fatalities due to drivers with sleep apnea. In May 2005, a Kansas mother and her 10-month-old child were killed when a truck collided with their SUV, and a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer died in 2000 when a truck struck his police car as he guarded a highway work zone. The drivers of both we known to have suffered from sleep apnea. Some studies state that nearly one in three drivers has sleep apnea, and that sleep apnea increases the risk of an accident by two to seven times.
Federal regulators have been considering a new regulation for more than a year that would require screeing drivers whose body mass index exceeds 30. No action has yet been taken on the new rule.
The San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accident. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
If your negligent driving causes a car accident in Fallbrook, and police or fire responds, your insurance company is going to get a bill from the city. This new fee goes into effect at the end of this month, and is designed to provide some revenue to cash-strapped local governments.
Depending on the severity of the auto accident, at-fault drivers will receive a bill from $435 to $2,100, which was calculated based on the hourly labor and equipment costs for public safety officers. If firefighters simply provide traffic control, the bill will be on the lower end, if the assistance is more involved, such as extracting victims from badly damaged vehicles, then the bill will be on the higher end.
Opponents of the new ordinance contend that the fee represents "double taxation," since existing property taxes presumably already cover these services. But most of the opposition, it is no surprise, has come from the insurance companies themselves, who threaten (as usual) that the rates for all will rise under such laws.
The double-taxation argument does have some teeth. Several states have already banned such a "crash tax," and a pending bill in Sacramento aims to do the same in California.
The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in car motorcycle accidents, and all other accident and injury matters. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
Four people suffered injuries, including two teenagers, after a three-vehicle car accident on Mission Ave. in Oceanside. The crash occurred just after 10:00 p.m. on Friday night, and involved a Hyundai Tiburon and a Chevy Silverado truck.
According to news accounts, the cause of the accident has not been determined, but the truck reportedly overturned. Four ambulances were called to the scene, and the victims were taken to local hospitals. Two of the victims suffered serious injuries.
The auto accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been impacted by accidental injuries and death. Call (760) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
Here's a good story. As Capt. Thomas Schwabenbauer was on his way to the Marine Combat Center from San Diego last Sunday, he heard a crash as he was traveling on westbound I-10. He looked up to to see an SUV up in the air.
"The first thing I remember thinking was I knew I had to get over there as fast as possible. It was go time," said Schwabenbauer.
The SUV was had a tire failure and rolled several times before stopping, upside down in the right lane.
"When I got to the side of the road, I saw there was a lady inside," he said. "I jumped inside and got her seat belt off, but I noticed her leg was stuck between the car and the ground. We had to rock the car up in order to pull her out."
Once she was removed, Schwabenbauer could see the severity of her injuries, which included major damage to her lower leg. He then used her belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, and comforted the woman to keep her from going into shock.
Schwabenbauer had medical training in the Marine Corp, and used that knowledge at the scene. Authorities have credited Schwabenauer, and his Marine friend Lance Cpl. James Nielsen, with saving the woman's life.
The San Diego accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents, including those caused by product defects, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accident. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
Grandma is a hero, of sorts. Yesterday morning while walking her two grandchildren to school she was hit by a car while shielding the kids from from the accident. According to reports, the three were walking in a crosswalk on Holt Avenue in Santa Ana, with vehicles stopped for them, when a red Nissan Sentra failed to stop.
Seeing the Sentra approaching, grandma stood in front of the children to block them from the collision. Grandma was hit by the car, and thrown onto the hood, and then onto the ground. She was taken to the hospital with scrapes and bruises, and possibly broken bones, but is expected to survive. One of the children was glanced by the car, but not injured.
The accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in all types of accidents, including those caused by car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and construction accidents. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
Assembly Bill 496 would require tire dealers in California to disclose the age of a tire before selling it, and informing consumers about the dangers of using older tires. It is easy to spot a worn and potentially dangerous tire, but what about the tire that looks brand new, but is actually many years old? Overtime, adhesives and the rubber used in tires will degrade, even if the tire is not used, greatly increasing the odds of tread separation, and thus an automobile accident. A new-looking tire can actually be very dangerous.
Take for example the story of Ramon Romero. When Romero went to get a new tire for his 12-year-old Ford Explorer, the dealer recommended he use his spare, which had never been used and looked perfect. Little did he know the rubber had become hard and brittle over time. Shortly thereafter, while traveling 65 miles an hour on the freeway near Temecula, Moreno's tire blew. The Explorer rolled, and his 10-year-old brother was ejected and killed.
The Consumer Attorneys of California is calling this bill one of the most important consumer protection bills in the state, and is urging consumers to contact their state representatives.
To read the latest version of the bill click here.
Interstate 5 was closed for a period yesterday when a box truck rear-ended a slow-moving big rig in the Camp Pendleton area. The driver of the truck, 49-year-old Henry Wei of Rosmead, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to witnesses, Wei was traveling at freeway speed when it plowed into the big rig, which was slowing as it approached the Border Patrol inspection station. Witnesses say that there was no evidence that the box truck braked at all before rear-ending the truck ahead. The cab of Wei's truck was crushed, and it took two hours to remove his body.
That Wei did not brake raises interesting liability questions. Either he was not paying attention to the road in front of him - which is fairly commonplace in this day cell phones and texting - or there was some sort of mechanical problem with his truck, which investigators are looking into. It would be interesting to know the age and maintenance history on the truck Wei was driving to learn if the truck was unable to stop because of mechanical issues.
The accident and injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families throughout Southern California who have been injured in automobile accidents, truck accidents, product defect cases, work site accidents, dog bites, and other accident cases. Call (866) 607-1325 or complete our online form for a free and confidential consultation.
A tour bus on its way to Colton from San Diego crashed into a freeway median yesterday, critically injuring eight people. According to reports, the bus hit the center divider on the northbound I-215 near Temecula, at the Nuevo Road exit. The bus then crashed through another barrier before coming to rest in the backyard of a private residence.
As many as 45 firefighters responded to the accident, including three helicopters and nine ambulances. Rescuers had to free several passengers who were trapped in the back of the bus, and it took more than an hour to free everyone. The most seriously injured passengers were those riding in the front of the bus.
The tour bus was owned by a charter company called Inland Empire Stages, of Rancho Cucamonga, which, according to records, had two vehicles involved in other crashes over the last 30 months. The cause of the accident is still unknown.
Here’s a KTLA video about the accident:
The Temecula injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been injured in accidents, including car crashes, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accident, and all other personal injury matters. Call (866) 607-1325 for a free consultation.
A 36-year-old San Diego husband and father died yesterday when his car slid on a freeway off ramp and slammed into a trash truck on Federal Blvd. Jose Lerma lost control of his car when it traveled over a large patch of used oil that police say was illegally dumped there earlier in the day. Witnesses say Lerma fishtailed in the oil and lost control and crashed.
Police are looking for help in finding the individuals who dumped the oil, which police estimate was four five-gallon buckets. San Diego Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward, and are encouraging those with any information to call the Crime Stoppers tip line at (888) 580-8477.
An elderly driver pulling into a parking spot at a Tierrasanta medical building was unable to put her foot on the brake, and to stop her car as it crashed into the lobby of the building, striking a man. The accident occurred two weeks ago, but police will recommend the 89-year-old driver be charged with vehicular manslaughter after man died due to his injuries.
According to reports, the car ran over a pole and into the glass windows that fronted the building. The man was visiting his dentist, and was pushed back 20 feet and pinned against a wall before being freed by firefighters. He suffered multiple fractures, and went into cardiopulmonary arrest at the scene. He never recovered.
Injury lawyers Randy Walton and Scott Barber represent individuals who have been injured in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, insurance disputes, products liability cases and all other personal injury cases. All consultations are free and confidential.
The California Highway Patrol is out with a report today designed to educate drivers on traffic safety when in proximity to a big rig truck. According to the report, of the 7,262 accidents involving commercial trucks last year, 56% were the fault of the driver inside the passenger vehicle, such as a car, pick-up or other non-commercial vehicle.
In Orange County, 616 people were injured in 452 accidents involving big rigs in 2007, including 17 fatalities. In San Diego County, 349 people were injured, with 19 fatalities. And in Riverside, 477 people were injured, including 24 fatalities. To read the full report, click here (.pdf)
The injury and accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families throughout Southern California who have suffered due to automobile accidents, work site accidents, defective products, spinal and brain injuries, dog bites, and other accident cases. Call (866) 607-1325 or complete our online form for a free and confidential consultation.
A San Marcos woman riding her scooter died after being cut off by negligent driver. The 59-year-old woman was traveling east on South Santa Fe Avenue early Saturday afternoon when she was struck by a small car as she traveled through Mar Vista Drive. According to reports, the car was attempting to turn left into a convenience store when it struck the woman.
The San Diego Sheriff's Department is investigating the accident, and no arrests have been made.
The injury attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals injured in auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, and all other accident cases. Call (760) 607-1325 or fill out an online form for a free and confidential consultation.
After a fatal big rig accident, California's top transportation official has temporarily banned large commercial trucks from Angeles Crest Highway for a period of 90 days.
On Wednesday, a big rig truck transporting automobiles lost its brakes while driving down a steep grade on the Southern California highway. The large truck smashed into several cars - killing a young girl and her father - then crashed into the window of a bookstore, injuring several others.
As a result of the accident, felony charges of vehicular manslaughter were filed against the driver of the truck Marcos Costa of Massachusetts.
The personal injury and wrongful death lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families throughout Southern California who have suffered due to automobile accidents, work site accidents, defective products, spinal and brain injuries, dog bites, and other accident cases. Call (866) 607-1325 or complete our online form for a free and confidential consultation.
The North County Times is out with a story about Highway 67 in Ramona, the site of yesterday's horrible auto accident that claimed the life of a young woman, and reveals a very troubling history about this busy stretch of San Diego County roadway. In the last 10 years there have been 46 deaths by auto accidents.
According to CalTrans, the culprit in most of the crashes was excessive speed. Local residents say that most cars travel much faster than the posted speed limit of 55 mph. Yesterday's accident is believed to have been caused by racing cars, one of which broadsided Alexendria Drake, pushing her Volvo into a tree and claiming her life.
While there have been discussions about expanding the highway, and adding a barrier in the center divider, no money has been allocated by governmental agencies for that purpose. This troubles residents, including JoAnn Bryant who no longer allows her family to drive on the road at night. "It's just too dangerous a road if you care about anybody," she said.
RAMONA, CA - A 25-year-old mother was killed yesterday on Route 67 after her car was struck by out of control racers. Alexandria Drake of Chula Vista was driving her Volvo near Quail Rock Road when she was struck by a speeding Jaguar that had veered into oncoming traffic.
According to witnesses, the Jaguar was a racing a white Mercedes Benz when it lost control. Several other cars and a motorcycle crashed when trying to avoid the Jaguar, which also crashed. In addition to the fatality, three other people suffered injuries, including the driver of the Jaguar. Ms. Drake's three-month old child was strapped in the backseat and was not hurt.
Police are trying to identify the driver of the white Mercedes, who did not stop. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the CHP at (619) 401-2000.
The San Diego accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP represent victims of auto accidents, motorcycle accident, construction accidents, and all other injury cases, including cases involving wrongful death. Call (760) 607-1325 or fill out an online form for a free and confidential consultation.
A 28-year-old Palm Desert man was killed today when the car he was riding in rear-ended a big-rig truck. The driver of the car was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
According to the CHP, the accident occurred at approximately 1:15 a.m. on westbound I-10, near Dillon Road, when the 2007 Mustang failed to slow in time and plowed into the large truck. Apparently the driver of the commercial truck was uninjured.
The Riverside car accident lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have injured in all types of accidents. All consultations are free and confidential.
A dramatic car accident on southbound SR 163 claimed the life of a motorcyclist. According to witnesses, an unidentified pickup truck abruptly changed lanes, cutting off a Ford Ranger pickup, causing it to lose control and veer across lanes and into another car. The Ranger then careened into a motorcyclist, throwing the rider over the center divider and into northbound traffic where he was struck by a car and killed.
The accident occurred at around 4:45 p.m. near the Kearney Villa Road exit. The pickup that started the chain of events did not stop.
The rider of the motorcycle was identified as Michael Anthony Freitas of Riverside.
The San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been involved in auto and motorcycle accidents. Attorney Scott Barber has been a street and dirt motorcycle rider for more than 20 years. Call for a free and confidential consultation.
After a car accident, it's not uncommon for the victims to call our office months later with complaints about their insurance claim. Usually the complaint is that the insurance adjuster is a jerk, won’t return calls, won’t make an offer, or simply is denying liability altogether. Clients then call us to ask if this is normal.
I don’t know if it’s “normal,” but it sure is prevalent. One would think that the insurance companies would do whatever it takes to prevent a person from contacting a lawyer after a personal injury claim, but every year our office takes over the cases of many people who simply want to avoid any further dealings with the insurance company.
Is there any way to make the process easier? Not really. But after a car accident, there are certain obligations under California law that insurance companies must follow:
• If it's your own insurance policy (such as an uninsured motorist claim), tell you of all benefits and coverages available to you.
• Open a claim file immediately and contact you within 15 days to appraise you of the status of the claim.
• Respond to phone calls or letter received by you within 15 days of receipt.
• Accept or deny the claim within 40 days after receiving documentation that the claim made is legitimate and supported by evidence.
• Offer a fair settlement, and pay it within 30 days.
The California Department of Insurance has an excellent manual that covers most issues that arise in an auto insurance claim (click here). Or, of course, you can call our office to answer any questions you might have. If, after an accident, the injuries are serious, then I believe it is important to get an attorney involved. The personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP provide free consultations on all auto accident case.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is typically a man's domain. But a recent study has revealed that over the last decade, injurious or fatal drunk driving accidents involving female drivers has risen sharply in California, and dramatically in San Diego County, where serious injury-causing accidents among females between ages 21 and 24 has increased 124%.
"I was pretty surprised at the magnitude of the increase," said Stephen Bloch, a researcher with the auto club, whose study is based on 10 years of CHP data. He stressed that men still represent the large majority of alcohol-related crashes.
Click here to read the entire article.
The lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have injured in accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, construction accident, and all other personal injury matters. Consultations are free and confidential.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - The City of Murrieta recently joined a growing number of cities by making automobile accident reports available online. Ten days after a car crash responded to by the Murrieta Police Department, any individual involved in the accident, and with a valid report number, can download the police report online for a $15 fee.
The Murrieta department is one of many cities using policereports.us. Other Southern California cities that currently used the online service are Anaheim, Buena Park, Fullerton, Indio, National City and Tustin.
In the last few days there has been a rash of car accidents involving pedestrians. The most serious occurred in Chula Vista where 45-year-old Peter Dicesare of Los Angeles drove his Jeep Wrangler into 75-year-old Ronald Seiler near the 3100 block of Main Street. Seiler was crossing Third Avenue when he was hit. He was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center where he died shortly after arriving. Alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the accident.
In Mira Mesa, a driver ran into a 51-year-old man on a bicycle. The victim was in a marked bike lane on Calle Cristobol when a 19-year-old driver hit the rear of the bike. The bicyclist was hospitalized with serious head and back injuries but is expected to recover. Alcohol is believed to have played a role in this accident as well.
In Pacific Beach, a woman suffered serious and life-threatening injuries when she was hit by a drunk driver as she tried to cross Mission Boulevard near Reed Avenue. The driver, Alan Mabrey, struck the pedestrian while he was turning left.
And in San Marcos, a 19-month-old boy was killed when he wandered from his home near Smilax Road. The driver, who was believed to be driving a black mid-size older model car with tinted windows, fled the scene. Anyone with information about this accident is encouraged to call the Sheriff's Department at 858-565-5200.
There have been a lot of fatal car accidents in San Diego County recently. In fact, over the holidays there were more auto accident-related deaths than in years past. Many of the accidents were caused by alcohol use, but the accidents that jump off the news pages are those that occur for "unknown reasons."
For example, about a week ago in Fallbrook a 42-year-old woman named Stormi Lou Arreola was killed, and her child passengers injured, when she crossed the center divider on northbound Mission Road and struck a elderly man driving a Mazda sedan. The accident occurred midday, and, according to news reports was not alcohol related.
Yesterday, a bicyclist – riding in the bike lane – was struck and killed in Sabre Springs on Sabre Springs Parkway when a man driving a BMW veered into the bike lane and hit the cyclist. The victim was identified as 55-year-old Walter Carl Joller, whose was severed in the crash. He died at the scene. Police said they don't believe alcohol played a role in the accident, which occurred around 7 p.m.
There are, of course, many reasons why car accidents occur, but when the cars veer or drift out of their lane, and alcohol or drugs are not involved, it's impossible not to think that cell phone use was a contributing factor. This is quickly becoming the primary culprit in the train accident in Los Angeles, and is no doubt the cause of many car accidents. Personal injury lawyers who represent the victims of these accidents can subpoena the phone records of negligent drivers to prove that at, or around, the time of the accident the driver was using the phone instead of watching the road.
UPDATE: This morning the North County Times had a thorough article about Mr. Joller, who was a retired Navy captain, and who regularly commuted by bicycle to his job at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in Point Loma. He wore reflective gear and a helmet when he rode, and was known to be an experienced cyclist. The police are now stating that the negligent driver who struck Mr. Joller was simply "inattentive" at the time of the accident, and that he may face vehicular manslaughter charges. The family said donations may be made to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society in lieu of flowers.
The San Diego personal injury lawyers at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals and families who have been impacted by auto, motorcycle, and bicycle accidents, including claims for wrongful death.
California Highway Patrol is reporting that Yine Erandy Gonzales Angeles, age 24, was killed early Sunday morning when the Ford Explorer she was traveling in rolled over on Interstate 5 near Solana Beach. Ms. Angeles was six months pregnant at the time. The baby did not survive.
According to news reports, Ms. Angeles was riding with her husband, 5-year-old daughter, and two relatives when the car was clipped by a speeding Nissan Altima that was trying to change lanes. The contact between the cars caused the Explorer to flip several times, partially ejecting Ms. Angeles, who was wearing a seatbelt. The other passengers suffered relatively minor injuries.
Witnesses stopped to assist the passengers out of both cars, but after helping the driver of the Altima get out of his vehicle he ran from the scene. The driver, John Francis Sudac Jr. of Carlsbad, later turned himself in and was booked into the Vista jail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter.
Adding insult to an already tragic accident, witnesses also said that in the slowing traffic after the accident, a woman in a dark colored Subaru wagon jumped out of her car and stole Ms. Angeles' purse, which had been thrown across the freeway, before driving away. Any witnesses to this accident or the theft are encouraged to call police at (858) 673-3800.
In recent years there has been a raging debate about what is the best age to allow a person to obtain a driver's license. For teenagers, it is a rite of passage to get a driver's license, but in increasing numbers teen drivers are causing mayhem on the roads. While road fatalities have dropped in the last twenty years, deaths involving newly licensed drivers have been on the increase. In fact, highway safety specialists have called it a "silent epidemic."
Case in point: On Sunday, a Ramona woman named Melissa Jean Day was hit head on while driving on Route 67 in Poway. The accident occurred when a pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old boy (with a 15-year-old passenger) hit a curb, then drove his truck across the center lane and striking Day's car. Day died in the accident, and her two daughters, ages 11 and 14, were injured. A truly, truly tragic accident.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety delaying the age at which drivers are licensed saves lives. Most European countries, as well as Japan, China, Brazil and Russia do not license drivers until age 18. Delaying the age, the argument goes, allows teens to mature before they get behind the wheel. No doubt it would save a lot of lives.
The Escondido injury and accident attorneys at Walton Law Firm LLP represent individuals who have been injured by car accidents, defective products, construction accidents, dog bites, and other cases involving negligence, including cases of wrongful death.
FACTS: Last September 52-year-old Theodore Angle was struck and killed by an SUV while jogging at the intersection of Via Cordoba and Redhawk Parkway in Temecula. The SUV was turning onto Redhawk from Via Cordoba when it struck Angle.
Allegations were made that the intersection was dangerous when turning left from Via Cordoba, because traffic on Redhawk blocks the line of sight for those turning right. Angle’s neighbor sent a letter to the City Council commenting on the dangerousness of the intersection, and recommending changes. Last week, Temecula's Public and Traffic Safety Commission vote against making significant changes to the intersection.
It was stated by the city's engineer that there have only been two accidents at the intersection since 2004, and also stated that proposed changes could actually make the intersection more dangerous.
View Larger Map
LIABILITY ANALYSIS: Public entitles such as the City of Temecula are protected by under a roadway design immunity at Government Code section 830.6 if the plan or design of the road if the design caused the accident, if it was approved by an employee authorized to make such decisions, and if there is "substantial evidence" that supports the reasonableness of the plan. The burden is on the city to prove the immunity applies.
The immunity may be lost if the plan or design has changed due to conditions, was aware of the change, and failed to take corrective action. The injured person must then show that the plan or design had become dangerous because of the change in conditions, that the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the change, and the public entity had time to obtain the funds to correct the problem.
If the case involves traffic signals, signs or markings, the city may be liable for failure to provide an adequate warning sign if one was necessary to warn of a danger that is not reasonably apparent.
The City of Temecula would only be liable if the above-referenced conditions were met. Since there were so few accidents involving the intersection, liability seems difficult. However, if the city had been on notice of the dangers created by the conditions leading to this unfortunate fatality, and failed to take appropriate action, there may be a viable case. The immunities would have to be overcome, which is no easy task.
FACTS: A 16-year-old female student as Scripps Ranch High School was accidentally run over in the high school’s parking lot. According to reports, the victim and other students were socializing in the parking lot just after school, apparently sitting on the asphalt. A 16-year-old male student then got into his car, started the engine, and proceeded to drive away. It is unclear what happened next, but apparently several of the victim’s friends were able to move out of the way, but not the victim, who was run over by male student driver.
Sadly, the girl was seriously injured. According the news reports, she suffered internal injuries, including a lacerated liver, and facial trauma.
LIABILITY ANALYSIS: General tort principles would apply to a case such as this. The male driver would be liable for any and all damages caused by his negligence, but that liability would be reduced by the comparative fault of the victim, if any.
Assuming negligence on the part of the driver, the damages would likely be limited to his auto insurance policy. As a minor, his parents could be held liable for additional sums, but that liability would probably be limited to $25,000 under California Civil Code §1714.1.
The school is probably not exposed to liability, unless it could be shown there was some wrongdoing on its part.
Walton Law Firm LLP represents vitims of personal injury throughout San Diego County. Contingency fee arrangements available and consultations are always free.
Auto accidents in San Diego County claimed the lives of three people over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, two fewer than killed during the same weekend last year. In Balboa Park, two people did in a solo-car crash, and 51-year-old Ilija Petrovich of Carlsbad was killed in a motorcycle accident in Pauma Valley.
California CHP also reported 119 DUI arrests over the weekend.
San Diego personal injury lawyers Randy Walton and Scott Barber represent individuals who have been impacted by car accidents, defective products, spinal and brain injuries, construction accidents, malpractice, dog bites, and other cases involving negligence, including cases of wrongful death.
A woman described as friendly and loyal was killed this weekend while selling flowers at her roadside flower stand in Lakeside. According to reports, Gwendolyn Wheeler was talking to a taxi that had pulled over on the shoulder of Lake Jennings Park Road when the driver of a pickup truck drove across lanes and on the raised shoulder, striking the parked taxi. Ms. Wheeler died at a nearby hospital, and the taxi driver was seriously injured.
The driver of the pickup was not injured, and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of prescription medication.
This wasn't the only fatal car accident to plague San Diego County this weekend. A Fallbrook man suspected of driving under the influence died in a single car accident when he slammed his Toyota Camry into a power pole on South Mission Road. And in Oceanside, two men and a dog were killed in a fiery crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Mission Road. Anyone with information about the Oceanside crash is asked to contact Officer Joe Torres at (760) 435-4930.
Walton Law Firm LLP is a personal injury law firm that represents injury and wrongful death clients throughout San Diego County. Contingency fee arrangements available and consultations are always free.
Based in San Diego’s North County, Randy Walton and Scott Barber represent individuals all over San Diego County in matters of personal injury and wrongful death. Whether you live in Escondido or El Cajon or Chula Vista, or anywhere else, Randy and Scott can help you obtain monetary justice for the injuries you have suffered.
Personal injuries, or course, can arise in a variety of circumstances, but usually occur due to car accidents, construction mishaps, dog bites, slip-and-fall incidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, or assault and battery. For over a decade our attorneys have been handling claims on behalf of injured people, and all cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. That means that we do not earn a fee unless there is a monetary recovery.
For more about our firm visit our website at www.WaltonBarber.com.
Home and hospital visits are available, and consultations about cases are always free.
Escondido seemed to fair the worse, ranking third highest among 52 cities of similar size in alcohol-related accidents per vehicle mile. Faring better was Carlsbad, who ranked 41st lowest in the same category. The ranking are based on the number of people injured or killed in automobile accidents each year.
The purpose of the study was to assist cities in identifying problems with traffic safety, and to help the state in assigning federal tax dollars to the cities that need it most.
A copy of the study can be found here (.pdf).
The driver of a bus that crashed last Sunday in Williams, California had a long criminal history and several motor vehicle offenses. Despite this history, he was allowed to drive a busload of senior citizens traveling to a casino when he veered off the road and into a ditch. Eight people died in the accident, and at least thirty were injured.
Though critically injured, the driver, Quintin Watts, has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. In addition to Watts questionable past, the bus he was operating belonged to a corporation who state registration has lapsed, and the bus itself had invalid license plates and ID numbers.
Remarkably, the driver's mother even feared for the passengers when she heard her son would be carrying passengers. She told reporters she and her husband did not want her son driving because, "he wasn't the best driver."
Watts has a conviction for failing to wear a seat belt, and was also was convicted of speeding and failing to appear in court on Dec. 30, 2005, and Feb. 22, 2006.
A new decision by the California 3rd District Court of Appeal has held that an unknowing owner of an uninsured vehicle may recover non-economic (pain and suffering) damages following an auto accident with a school bus.
Puaolele Ieremia was a passenger in a Dodge Durango which was being driven by her husband when they were hit by a Hilmar Unified School District bus. A jury awarded Mrs. Ieremia $128,145 in economic damages and $1.9 million in non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. The school district appealed, arguing that Proposition 213 and California Civil Code section 3333.4(a)(2) prohibited her from recovering non-economic damages as the Durango was uninsured at the time of the accident.
Section 3333.4(a)(2) states that the owner of an uninsured vehicle which is involved in an accident cannot recovery non-economic (pain and suffering) damages.
After the accident, Mrs. Ieremia learned that her husband had purchased the vehicle from his boss with part of his earnings. Although the boss had signed over the title to Mr. Ieremia, he had not yet registered the vehicle as he did not have insurance, nor had he told his wife he had purchased the Durango. The School District argued that since Mr. Ieremia had purchased the vehicle with community property funds, under California law Mrs. Ieremia was also an owner of the vehicle.
The Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s finding that Mrs. Ieremia was not an owner of the vehicle, relying upon Savnik v. Hall(1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 733. In Savnik the court held that merely being on the title to a vehicle is not enough, finding that an owner “is one who exercises the incidents of ownership--dominion, control, right, interest, and title.” Savnik at 740. The court found that holding a non-knowing owner responsible was inconsistent with the purpose of Prop. 213 which was to limit recovery of non-economic damages for those drivers who knowingly choose to break the law.
The court found that Mrs. Ieremia had no idea her husband had purchased the vehicle and had not exercised any dominion, control, right, interest, or title in the Durange and therefore was not knowingly trying to break the law by operating an uninsured vehicle.
San Marcos has one of the most dangerous intersections in North County at San Marcos Blvd. and Rancho Santa Fe Road. But just about a half-mile west is another dangerous intersection at San Marcos Blvd. and Acacia Rd., which sits at the bottom of both an eastbound and westbound dip, causing drivers to approach the intersection at a high rate of speed.
A few years ago there was a lawsuit arising from an auto accident at that intersection, and yesterday a 19-year-old Encinitas man was killed while riding as a passenger in a 2004 Jeep Loredo that, according to reports, was speeding on San Marcos Blvd. The Jeep was traveling eastbound, and ran a red light at Acacia. The Jeep seriously injured the driver of car trying to turn left onto westbound San Marcos Blvd. Hopefully, the injured (and apparently innocent) driver of that car makes a full recovery.
More on the accident can be found here.
UPDATE [8/30/08]: It is being reported in the North County Times this morning that the driver that ran the red light has been arrested for manslaughter and drunk driving. The woman who was hit in the intersection reportedly suffered only minor injuries.
The hit-and-driver that nearly killed Leslie Nunez has never been held accountable for the devastating injuries she wrought upon Leslie and her friend last year in Pacific Beach. Exactly one year ago, Leslie and her friends were walking to a restaurant in PB when they crossed Grand Avenue near Cass Street and were hit by a Nissan Maxima. Leslie suffered severe personal injuries, including head injuries and broken bones requiring surgery. The driver just took off.
Now Leslie needs your help to find the bad guy, and is offering her own money to boost the San Diego Crimestoppers reward up to $2500 for information that leads to the identification of the negligent driver. The accident occurred on August 10, 2007 at 9:40 p.m. in Pacific Beach. Witnesses say there were two women in the car, which may have been customized with specialty rims and tinted windows. Leslie still has over $200,000 in medical bills. Anyone with helpful information about this hit-and-run crash should call (888) 580-TIPS or go to the Crimestoppers website.
Walton Law Firm LLP is a personal injury law firm that represents clients throughout San Diego County. Contingency fee arrangements available, and consultations are always free.
Two San Diego pedestrians died yesterday after being struck by cars in separate incidents. The first was in North Park, where a 20-year-old pedestrian suffered major head injuries and died after being struck on University Avenue. The other occurred in Paradise Hills, where a pedestrian was hit near Sky Harbor Road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a pedestrian is struck and injured every eight minutes in the United States, and killed every 111 minutes. A large majority of pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, at non-intersection locations, and in normal weather conditions.
Nearly half of all pedestrian accidents occur in the afternoon, and children and the elderly are typically at a greater risk of being injured in a pedestrian accident. Many of these incidents are the result of negligent or reckless drivers.
Studies show that hundreds of deaths and injuries on the highway each are caused by truck drivers suffering from medical problems behind the wheel. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration admits that it hasn't implemented any of the eight recommendations regulators proposed in 2001. The number of trucking crashes has been described as a "major public safety problem," and impacts drivers in every state.
The leading cause of serious accidents by large trucks occurred where drivers fell asleep, suffered heart attacks or seizures, or otherwise became impaired because of a medical condition. The FMCSA medical oversight board states that trucking accidents are one of the biggest causes of occupational death in the US, and is urging more doctors visits for truck drivers.
One of the most frequent questions Walton Law Firm gets from potential clients is, "Do I need a lawyer?" While there is no set answer, here are some general guidelines. You probably need a lawyer if:
1) You need more than one doctor visit to treat your injuries. Generally, if your injuries are such that you require two or more doctor visits or physical therapy, in addition to incurring medical bills, you are going to miss some work. When the bills start mounting and medical insurance gets involved, you probably need a lawyer.;
2) You're in a car accident and your vehicle sustains over $1,000 in damage. Generally, the higher the amount of damage to the car, the higher the forces transferred to the occupants. Of course there are exceptions to this so the amount of damage to a vehicle alone is not a determinative factor.; or
3) The other party denies responsibility for the accident. If the other party was at fault but denies it, you will definitely need an attorney as their insurance will likely not settle without a fight.
If you've been in an accident which meets one or more of the three criteria above, please do not hesitate to contact Walton Law Firm for a confidential and free consultation. If you're going to need a lawyer, it's better to get them involved earlier rather than later.
A decline in auto accident deaths may be attributed to the increase in fuel prices, a new study shows. The report was released last month at a meeting of the American Society of Health Economists.
The study found that for every 10% increase in gas prices, there was a 2.3% decline in automobile accident fatalities. Surprisingly, there was a greater decrease in accident deaths for drivers ages 15 - 17, which was 6%, than for drivers 18-20, which was 2.3%. The auto death statistics were acquired from the National Highway Safety Administration.
The study's authors believe that the number of auto-related deaths will decrease by 1,000 each month that gas prices continue to rise. There are approximately 40,000 deaths every year resulting from car crashes.
Hit-and-run auto accidents have declined in nearly all of San Diego’s North County cities over the last three years. Oceanside had the most dramatic decrease. In 2007 the city recorded 695 hit-and-run accidents, 157 fewer than were recorded in 2005. Escondido, Vista, and Encinitas also reported decreases. Only Carlsbad and San Marcos saw an increase over the same three-year period.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows a decrease in the annual number of incapacitating injuries due to auto accidents of 25%. It defines an incapacitating injury as a severe non-fatal injury that prevents the injured party from walking or driving, or the ability to continue the pre-accident activities of daily living.
Much of the decline in auto accident injuries is attributed to many improvements made in vehicle safety and driver behavior over the last decade. It's really no surprise. Seat belt use is now commonplace and expected, child safety seats are in regular use, and the incidents of drunk driving have also been in decline. In addition, cars are safer than ever. Air bags are now a standard feature on newer cars, as well as stability control.
This is all good news. But there are still too many car accidents that result in personal injury. All the technology and public service announcements in the world can't prevent the negligent or careless driver from being negligent and careful. But it is nice to know that the roads are becoming increasingly safer.
Walton Law Firm LLP is a San Diego County law firm representing individuals, families, and businesses throughout San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties, in matters involving personal injury, wrongful death, nursing home abuse and neglect, and real estate litigation.
More people, more roads, and more freeway congestion caused the number of auto accidents on North County San Diego roads to rise in 2007. Drivers looking to avoid the congestion of Highway 78, found the local surface streets no safer. Below are the top car accident locations in all the cities along the 78 corridor.
College Boulevard and Oceanside Boulevard - 10
North River Road and College Boulevard - 7
Mission Avenue between Butler Street and Amick Street - 7
College Boulevard and Plaza Drive - 6
College Boulevard and Via Cupeño - 6
Oceanside Boulevard and Melrose Drive - 6
College Boulevard and Barnard Drive - 5
El Camino Real and Vista Way - 5
Mesa Drive and College Boulevard - 5
Oceanside Boulevard and Rancho del Oro - 5
El Camino Real and La Costa Avenue - 28
El Camino Real and Palomar Airport Road - 27
Armada Drive and Palomar Airport Road - 15
El Camino Real and Marron Road - 15
Alga Road and Aviara Parkway - 14
El Camino Real and Faraday Avenue - 14
Palomar Airport Road and Paseo del Norte - 14
Carlsbad Village Drive and Harding Street - 13
Cannon Road and El Camino Real -12
Car Country Drive and Paseo del Norte - 12
Escondido Avenue and Hillside Terrace - 26
Melrose Drive and Vista Way - 15
Santa Fe Avenue and Vista Village Drive - 15
Emerald Drive and Vista Way - 15
SAN MARCOS ACCIDENTS
Rancho Santa Fe Road and San Marcos Boulevard - 41
Grand Avenue and San Marcos Boulevard - 24
Business Park Drive and San Marcos Boulevard - 17
Knoll Road and San Marcos Boulevard - 17
Descanso Avenue and Rancho Santa Fe Road - 16
San Marcos Boulevard and Twin Oaks Valley Road - 16
Via Vera Cruz and San Marcos Boulevard - 16
Bent Avenue and San Marcos Boulevard - 15
Washington Avenue and North Broadway - 17
East Valley Parkway and Midway Drive - 16
Lincoln Avenue and North Broadway - 16
El Norte Parkway and Centre City Parkway - 14
East Valley Parkway and Rose Street - 14
East Mission Avenue and Ash Street - 13
Mission Avenue and Fig Street - 13
Washington Avenue and Ash Street - 13
East Valley Parkway and Harding Street - 12
East Valley Parkway and Ash Street - 12
Centre City Parkway and Mission Avenue - 12