Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

Published on:

Late last month, a commuter train crash led to 30 serious personal injuries. Now, the top prosecutor in Ventura County is deciding whether or not to bring criminal charges, according to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report.

Train accidents and derailments can be devastating, often resulting in severe and fatal injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a train collision, you shouldn’t hesitate to speak with an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer. You may be able to file a claim for compensation.

Details of the Train Accident

What happened in Oxnard? According to reports, three out of five train cars on a Metrolink commuter train derailed after it crashed into a truck in the early hours of the morning. Images from the crash show that the derailed cars “tumbled onto their sides,” leaving four people with critical injuries. Investigators initially arrested the truck driver, Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, for “leaving the scene of an injury accident.” Given that many Southern California cities have witnessed a rise in hit-and-run accidents over the last year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that law enforcement agencies are taking the train crash very seriously.

Investigators have indicated that they continue to seek information about the crash, and a video of the train derailment was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, D.C. for additional analysis, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. By and large, investigators aren’t exactly sure how the accident happened.

Sanchez-Ramirez argues that, while driving his Ford F-450 truck and trailer over the track, it “became stuck,” and Sanchez-Ramirez “tried unsuccessfully to get it moving again.” When he saw the train coming, he got out of the vehicle and “ran for help,” his attorney indicated. The driver’s lawyer pointed out that Sanchez-Ramirez did all that he could to prevent the accident, as he “turned on his high beams and tried to extricate the truck from the tracks, even getting out to push it, but it wouldn’t move.”

Reports indicate that the Metrolink train crashed into the truck, turning Sanchez-Ramirez’s vehicle into “a fireball,” which resulted in 28 passengers being rushed to nearby hospitals. The train engineer, in addition to two other passengers, remained in critical condition as of late last week.

Liability for the Dangerous Crash

Who is liable for the accident? Sanchez-Ramirez’s initial arrest suggests that the truck driver may have behaved not only negligently, but also criminally, when he fled the scene. However, investigators have emphasized that they need to finish their investigation before any decisions will be made about a criminal prosecution.

We do know that the police located Sanchez-Ramirez more than a mile from the scene of the crash. The driver also has a history of traffic violations, including a DUI, failure to obey a police officer, and failure to obey a traffic control device.

Even if prosecutors don’t elect to file criminal charges, the driver still may be liable for damages. When a loved one suffers injuries in a serious automobile accident, it’s important to talk with an experienced California accident lawyer about your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist you.

See Related Blog Posts:

Trucking Accident Kills Grad Student

California Bus Crash Report

Published on:

Every year, thousands and thousands of car recalls take place. For many Americans, hearing about a product defect can be very scary. But are all recalls emergency situations? A large number of these recalls aren’t going to have a serious effect on the drivers. According to a recent article from, numerous recalls happen for “less than perilous reasons.”


For example, “sometimes they’re for something as benign as a mislabeled sticker.” Or, in other cases, “durability tests find a suspension spring could wear out prematurely.” And even if your car is subject to a more serious recall, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll experience that problem. To be sure, “a vast majority of affected cars will never experience the potential problems outlined in a recall notice.”

Yet many of us aren’t always sure how to tell the difference between a relatively benign and a more serious recall. How can you learn specific details about recalls and whether you need to pay particular attention? And in the event that your car is recalled for a significant reason, what should you do?

Recent Recalls and Consumer Injuries

In 2014, a number of automobile recalls shook the news. Nearly 8 million recalls took place for cars that had certain Takata airbags installed. If you’ve been reading about the Takata air bag recall, you know that these automobile parts “are prone to explode in collisions, spraying passengers with shrapnel,” and “sometimes with fatal results.” Some of the automakers that use Takata airbags include GM, Honda, Toyota, and BMW. Honda was just recently fined $70 million for failing to report more than 1,700 injuries and deaths that occurred in its automobiles, according to an article in the Washington Post.

In addition to the Takata recall, GM also recalled about 2.6 million vehicles in 2014 due to a defective ignition switch. In certain cases, these cars could simply turn off during operation, resulting in serious and fatal accidents. And just shortly before news about the GM recall hit the internet, Toyota and Lexus recalled more than 10 million automobiles because of a problem that resulted in “unintended acceleration” and deadly car accidents.

Learning About a Recall

How do most of us find out about recalls? Whether an auto manufacturer issues a recall for a minor or a serious problem, it will contact car owners by snail mail or email, and it will provide instructions for having the defective part repaired or replaced. How long does an automaker have to alert you to the recall? Once it has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the recall, it must let you know within 60 days.

If you find out that your car is part of a recall, you should follow the instructions—which usually involve visiting the nearest dealership—and have the fix or replacement completed. In some cases, the dealership won’t have the parts in stock that are needed for the repair. In such a case, you should find out if the recall “involves a key operating component, such as the acceleration, brake, steering, suspension, or fuel systems.” If it does, and the automaker suggests that you stop driving the vehicle until it can be repaired, it “should tow your car to a dealership and provide a loaner.”

Social Media and Product Recalls

If you want to stay informed about product recalls, social media can provide very useful tools. For example, you can follow your automaker on Twitter or Facebook. After GM instituted its massive recalls, it began using these precise social media platforms to let consumers know that they needed to pay attention.

If you do sustain an injury from a defective car part, you should always report the problem to the NHTSA and contact an experienced San Diego product defect attorney. You may be eligible to seek compensation for your injuries.

Photo Credit: Manish Prabhune via Compfight cc

See Related Blog Posts:

Do Product Recalls Prevent Consumer Injury?

Dangerous Airbag Recall Expands

Published on:

Was 2014 really the year of the deadly hit-and-run accident in Southern California? Three deadly collisions that occurred just before the end of the year don’t bode well for car accident prevention and pedestrian fatalities in 2015. Hit-and-run crashes often are preventable, but when they do happen, it’s important to remember that you have legal rights.


Deadly Pedestrian Accidents in the San Diego Area

According to a recent article from NBC 7 San Diego, police have been dealing with a number of serious and fatal hit-and-run collisions at the end of the holiday season. By December 29, authorities were investigating three separate hit-and-run accidents that occurred on the same day in National City, City Heights, and Oceanside, respectively.

How did these deadly accidents happen, and could they have been prevented? The first accident occurred in the early hours of the evening at around 6:30 p.m. in National City. An elderly pedestrian, Armando Guerrero, 75, had been crossing the street in a crosswalk. While in the bounds of the crosswalk, a white pickup truck struck Guerrero before fleeing the scene. The victim sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene of the collision. Authorities have yet to locate the truck involved in the crash, which they believe to be an older-model Nissan or Toyota with front-end damage.

A second pedestrian accident occurred at around the same time. In this case, the victim was a 23-year-old man who had been standing on a center divide near 52nd Street and University Avenue in City Heights. According to U-T San Diego, police received a call about a hit-and run accident at 6:21 p.m. on December 29th, and emergency responders rushed to the area. However, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Almost concurrently, another 24-year-old man sustained fatal injuries in a hit-and-run accident near Camp Pendleton. The victim tried to cross Interstate 5, and he was struck by more than one vehicle, according to police reports.

And hit-and-run accidents aren’t the only ones taking place near San Diego. Just a day prior to these deadly accidents, a tow truck driver was seriously injured in another collision in Encinitas. The tow truck driver responded to an accident that occurred early in the morning on the northbound side of Interstate 5, according to a report from NBC 7 San Diego. That accident involved only property damage, and required that one of the cars be towed from the interstate. An oncoming car “collided into the tow driver as he was attempting to get the vehicle up on the back of the tow truck.”

Hit and Run Facts and Figures

Hit-and-run accidents are on the rise in the San Diego area, but they’re also happening with more frequency across the country. A report in USA Today suggested that hit-and-run collisions are becoming epidemic in a number of major American cities, in particular in Los Angeles and San Diego. The number of fatal accidents of this type reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the last several years confirms this trend:

  •      2009: 1,274 fatal hit-and-run accidents
  •      2010: 1,393 fatal hit-and-run accidents
  •      2011: 1,449 fatal hit-and-run accidents

The NHTSA continues to collect data on hit-and-run fatalities between 2012-14, but the early numbers appear to show a continuation of the upward trend. Can we make 2015 a year of pedestrian safety in San Diego? Time will tell whether hit-and-run prevention measures can help to decrease the occurrence of these deadly accidents.

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a serious hit-and-run accident, you should speak to an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer today.

Photo Credit: furyksx via Compfight cc

See Related Blog Posts:

Fatal Pedestrian Accident in La Jolla

More Hit-and-Run Accidents in San Diego

Published on:

It is always scary to learn that we could be driving an automobile that was subject to a product recall. In the past months, millions of vehicles were affected by a Takata airbag recall, and according to a story from PBS Newshour, it looks as if that recall is only continuing to expand.

Were you been seriouAirbagsly injured in a car accident caused by a defective automobile product? It is important to know that you can file a lawsuit to hold the manufacturer liable for your injuries. Contact an experienced San Diego product liability lawyer today to find out more about how we can assist with your case.

Airbags Can Release Metal Shrapnel, Resulting in Fatal Injuries

The defective airbags involved in the urgent recalls involve at least seven different automakers. Indeed, Takata, the Japanese automobile parts manufacturer, provides airbags for many different types of cars, trucks, and SUVs. Back in October, the U.S. government issued “an immediate recall” for nearly 5 million vehicles that were installed with defective airbags. The airbags, in case you have not read about the serious dangers they can pose, “have released metal shrapnel during crashes that has led to the deaths of at least four people.”

Since the federal recall, the consumer website providing information about the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) of those cars implicated has not been working properly. As such, it is important to check your VIN directly to see if your automobile’s airbags could be defective. By early November, the numbers for potentially affected vehicles caught up in this recall looked like this:

  •      778,177 Toyota vehicles;
  •      2,803,214 Honda vehicles;
  •      437,712 Nissan vehicles;
  •      18,050 Mazda vehicles;
  •      573,935 BMW vehicles;
  •      133,221 General Motors vehicles.

As you can see, millions of American drivers are at risk of a serious or fatal injury resulting from the defective Takata airbags. And those numbers continue to grow.

Recall Numbers Grow, More Automakers and Models Implicated

By mid-November, the Takata airbag recall expanded to include more Honda vehicles. According to a report in Autoblog, investigators discovered that a pregnant woman in Malaysia suffered fatal injuries in a car accident when the airbag inflator ruptured. This victim’s case was the first to be reported outside the U.S., and it resulted in the additional recall of about 170,000 Honda vehicles in Europe and Asia. With these additional recalls, the total number of potentially affected vehicles grew to more than 14 million.

Meanwhile, vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. were also added to the list. A report from Automotive News indicated that Ford pickup trucks across the country may have defective Takata Corp. airbags installed in them. The recent death in Malaysia actually alerted the automaker and manufacturer to a previously unknown defect in the airbags. As such, Ford will be adding its 2004 and 2005 model year trucks to the list of Takata recalls, and it will replace both the passenger airbags and the driver’s-side airbags.

If you or a loved one sustained severe or fatal injuries in an accident caused by a defective product, you deserve to be compensated. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and should contact a San Diego defective product attorney to discuss your case.

Image Credit: DodgertonSkillhause via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Do Product Recalls Prevent Consumer Injury?

More GM Recalls Amidst Release of Defect Report

Published on:

When automobile drivers tafile000911994102ke their eyes off the road or experience distractions, serious and fatal accidents can occur.  Indeed, according to a recent report from NBC San Diego, a woman suffered fatal injuries after she was struck by an automobile while unloading her car “along a busy La Jolla street.”  The pedestrian accident occurred in the late morning on Girard Avenue, just across the street from Nosh Delicatessen and Orange Theory Fitness, the article reported.

Elderly Driver Strikes Victim

How did the accident happen?  According to reports, the victim, a 45-year-old woman who was a resident of La Jolla, was pinned between her own parked car and the vehicle of the elderly driver who caused the collision.  The driver, a 91-year-old, “backed out of a nearby parking spot on the west side of the street, crossed into the other side, and rammed into the woman,” according to San Diego Police Department Sergeant Joe A. Benavidas.

Benavidas emphasized that the 91-year-old driver stayed at the scene after the collision to answer questions from the police.  While the accident remains under investigation, the San Diego Police Department believes that “speed likely played a factor.”

This part of Girard Avenue—around the 7700 block—is particularly busy.  According to residents of the area, the street often produces “a difficult dance in the afternoons between shoppers and heavy traffic.”  One resident, Justin Rowley, told NBC San Diego that the intersection of Silverado and Girard, near to the victim’s fatal accident, “is always busy with foot traffic and cars.”  As such, if you are a pedestrian, “you always have to watch what you are doing when you are walking across the street.”

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in California

When you lose a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful act of another person, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.  What is a wrongful death claim?  It is a civil lawsuit that is brought by the survivors of a person who sustained fatal injuries because of another person’s negligence or bad behavior.

A wrongful death claim is a lot like a personal injury lawsuit in that it allows for recovery of damages following a serious accident and injury.  Here is another way to think about it: if the deceased person had lived, she or he would have been able to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for injuries.  Since the deceased died as a result of those injuries, the survivors can step in and file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person.

California law specifies that only certain people are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.  Typically, the following people are the ones to bring a lawsuit for another person’s wrongful death:

  •      Surviving spouse;
  •      Surviving children;
  •      Surviving domestic partner.

If the deceased person does not have a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children, then the following people are the likely ones to file a wrongful death claim:

  •      Surviving parents of the deceased;
  •      Surviving siblings;
  •      Children of deceased siblings;
  •      Surviving grandparents;
  •      Persons who financially depended upon the deceased person.

Pedestrians who sustain severe and life-threatening injuries in traffic collisions may be eligible for compensation.  If you have lost a loved one in a dangerous pedestrian accident, you should speak to an experienced San Diego injury lawyer about filing a wrongful death claim.

Photo Credit: xandert via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Fatal Nighttime Diving Accidents

Patients at Risk of Injury in Smaller Military Hospitals


Published on:

The Deadliest Year for the Hit-and-Run?

Have hit-and-run accidents become a serious problem in the San Diego area?  At the beginning of the summer, we told you about recent data suggesting that San Diego County is experiencing increasing incidents of deadly hit-and-run crashes.  By June of 2014, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) catalogued more than 17,000 of these dangerous collisions.  Those accidents resulted in 60 fatalities, and left more than 7,000 seriously injured.

Are pedestrian fatalities becoming the norm in Southern California?  According to a recent story from NBC San Diego, deadly hit-and-run accidents continue to happen in our area.

Marine Dies in Hit-and-Run Accident

The frightening trend surrounding hit-and-run accidents continued over the summer.  An active duty Marine suffered fatal injuries after he was struck by a box truck in Oceanside, California.  The 22-year-old Marine, Joseph Bizzarro, was riding his motorcycle when the truck hit the back of his bike.  Bizzarro “suffered major blunt head trauma,” while the “truck driver fled from the scene,” according to NBC San Diego.

The truck was identified as a “Bfile5051241612699udget Rental.” The driver attempted to make an illegal U-turn in front of the motorcyclist; after realizing the truck’s intended movement, Bizzarro was not able to stop in time.  Bizzarro was riding his bike to the military base when the accident occurred.

Emergency medical responders arrived on the scene the morning of the accident, and Bizzarro was airlifted to a local hospital, where he was placed on life support.  He died as a result of his injuries several hours later.

In Bizzarro’s case, the hit-and-run driver actually “changed his mind and returned to the scene,” according to Oceanside police.  The driver, Ezequiel Garcia, was arrested for a felony hit-and-run accident.  Later reports indicated that Garcia was driving on an expired driver’s license.

Bizzarro’s wife has mobilized members of the community to remember her husband and to seek justice.  In an interview with NBC San Diego, she emphasized that she wants Garcia to receive the maximum punishment for his role in the Marine’s death.

Hit-and-Run Laws in California

In California, an offender can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for a hit-and-run offense. Under the California Vehicle Code, one can be charged with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident without identifying one’s self to those involved in the crash, and if another person’s property sustained damage in the collision.

One can be charged with a felony hit-and-run offense for leaving the scene of an accident without identifying one’s self to those involved in the crash, and if another person sustains an injury, which can run from a minor injury to a fatality.  In other words, a misdemeanor hit-and-run offense deals with property damage, while a felony offense applies to situations where a person suffers an injury–the seriousness of the injury does affect the charge.

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a dangerous hit-and-run accident, contact a San Diego car accident lawyer as soon as possible.  We may be able to help you secure compensation for your injuries.

Photo Credit: Alvimann via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Deadly Hit and Run Accidents in San Diego

San Diego Crime Stoppers Addresses Hit-and-Run Accidents

Published on:

Earlier this month, a cyclist suffered catastrophic injuries after being struck by a wrong-way driver on Fiesta Island, according to a recent story from NBC San Diego.  Other riders in San Diego’s cycling community explained that the victimDSCN1797, Juan Carlos Vinolo, 49, sustained serious injuries after pushing another cyclist out of the way of the oncoming vehicle.  The car accident left Vinolo paralyzed with a severe spinal cord injury.

Wrong-Way DUI Driver Seriously Injures Bicyclists

Vinolo was riding with about thirty other cyclists, members of the San Diego Bicycle Club.  Vinolo’s wife, Emma Irarragorri, told NBC San Diego her husband “is always obsessed with safety when he rides his bicycle.”  When her husband saw the oncoming car, he “instinctively pushed the leader out of harm’s way,” saving that cyclist’s life but suffering serious injuries in the bicycle accident.

The auto accident caused serious injuries to other members of the San Diego Bicycle Club as well.  According to the article, the “impact of the crash shattered the car’s windshield and sent at least 10 cyclists to the hospital with injuries ranging from facial cuts to bruised ribs.”  Vinolo, however, was the most seriously injured of anyone on the group.  His injuries included two punctured lungs, broken ribs, a broken left clavicle, dislocated left shoulder, loss of one kidney, spleen laceration, and six broken vertebrae.

According to one of the cycling teammates, Logan Bass, several cyclists saw the car approaching and attempted to get out of the way.  Bass remembers seeing Vinolo on top of the car, and another cyclist on the car’s windshield.  Bass sustained a contusion to his ribs and a cut on his foot.  Although he spent two days in the hospital, he and the other cyclists are most concerned about Vinolo.

Police arrested and charged the vehicle’s driver, Theresa Lynn Owens, 49, with driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance.

Bicycle-Related Injuries: Facts and Statistics

How often do bicycle accidents occur?  In general, only about 1 percent of all trips taken in our country are on bicycle. Yet cyclists face a much higher risk of crash-related injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Some important facts about bicycle crashes:

  • In 2010, about 800 bicyclists sustained fatal injuries in collisions;
  • About 515,000 emergency room visits take place each year due to bicycle-related injuries;
  • On average, serious and fatal crash-related injuries result in medical costs and productivity losses of about $5 billion annually.

Who is at risk in a serious or fatal bicycle accident?  Risk factors include:

  • Age: Adolescents between the ages of 15-24 and adults aged 45 and older are at the highest risk of a bicycle accident fatality.  The highest rate of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries occurs among children under the age of 15.  In fact, about 60 percent of all bicycle-related injuries involve children under the age of 15.
  • Sex: The CDC reports that males are “much more likely to be killed or injured” in a bicycle-related accident than are female cyclists.
  • Area: Urban areas are much more dangerous for bicyclists, particularly at non-intersection locations.

Even nonfatal bicycle accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, including spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries.  If you or a loved one have sustained injuries in a bicycle accident or traffic collision, it is important to discuss your case with a San Diego accident lawyer.  We can help you to seek compensation for your injuries.

Photo Credit: pippalou via morgueFile

See Related Blog Posts:

Preventing Bicycle Accidents with San Diego Bike Loop

Cyclist Dies in Carlsbad Accident

Published on:

New Study Questions Significance of California’s Cell Phone Ban

Six years ago, the use of hand-held phones while driving was banned in California.  The ban, aimed at preventing serious car accidents, led other states to pass similar laws.  In fact, thirteen states now restrict the use of cell phones to hIMG_2322ands-free-only devices for people behind the wheel.  But has California’s cell phone ban actually reduced the number of traffic collisions?  According to arecent article in UT San Diego, a new study out of the University of Colorado questions the utility of the cell phone ban.

As the article points out, for almost a decade we have heard talk about the statistics surrounding texting and hand-held talking while driving. In particular, doing so results in distracted driving, and distracted driving causes life-threatening and fatal automobile accidents.  However, according to Daniel Kaffine, associate professor of economics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, there is no clear “statistical evidence of a reduction” in accidents associated with California’s cell phone ban.

The cell phone ban first went into effect in July 2008.  Over the six months that followed, “researchers determined there was no evidence crashes were reduced.”  Kaffine explained that, if talking on a handheld phone while driving was really so dangerous, “and if even just a fraction of people stopped using their phones, we would expect to find some decrease in accidents.”  Yet Kaffine’s research team found no such evidence.

Kaffine’s team at the University of Colorado is not the first group of researchers to question the efficacy of handheld cell phone bans.  In fact, a study from 2013 published in American Economic Journal looked closely at data surrounding “nationwide, single-vehicle, single-occupant crash numbers” near the time when a lot of states implemented texting-while-driving bans.  According to the study, “initially, there was a notable drop in collisions.”  However, only three months after the bans were enacted, “crashes had crept back up to levels seen before the texting ban was in place.”

Why Are Handheld Talking and Texting Bans Not Working?

Law enforcement officials say these bans are doing a lot of good, and California officials reject Kaffine’s study.  However, the recent research suggests some compelling reasons why neither ban made much of an impact in California or across the country:

  •      Distracted driving does not just result from handheld phone use.  It is possible many California drivers switched to hands-free devices. A number of researchers suggest this method of talking is “equally distracting;”
  •      Drivers choose to ignore the ban, and continue using handheld devices for talking and texting while driving;
  •      The drivers most likely to use handheld devices are “the type of drivers who engage in other distracting behaviors.”  In short, they replaced one distracting behavior—the handheld cell use—with another;
  •      Talking while driving is not as dangerous as believed.

Law enforcement officials stress that we, as drivers, are less perceptive when talking while driving.  According to one California Highway Patrol Officer, if the ban is not working, it is because people are not following the law. The number of tickets issued could support this point, with nearly 20,000 issued in 2011, more than 15,000 issued in 2012, and nearly 11,000 issued in 2013.  The California Highway Patrol predicts that number will rise in 2014.

Have you sustained serious injuries in a car accident?  Distracted driving can lead to fatal traffic collisions and debilitating injuries.  If you have been hurt, it is important to contact an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer.  You may be eligible for financial compensation.

See Related Blog Posts:

Deadly Hit and Run Accidents in San Diego

Distracted Driving Fines and Accidents

Photo Credit: rickyysanne via morgueFile cc

Published on:

Hit and Run Data in San Diego County

San Diego County has been experiencing several years of “the deadly hit and run,” according to a recent article in Voice of San Diego.  Indeed, between the years of 2008 and 2012, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that more than 17,000 hit-and-run accidents occurred across the county.  In those accidents, nearly 7,000 victims sustained serious injuries and nearly 60 suffered fatal injuries.

TearsWhat’s happening in San Diego County when it comes to deadly car accidents?  Officer Mark McCullough indicated that the sheer number of hit-and-run accidents hasn’t climbed dramatically in the last five years, but the egregiousness of the cases has grown.  For example, in 2014 alone, “11 pedestrians have been hit and killed by drivers who fled the scene,” according to data collected by the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office.  Let’s remember that the average number of deaths is about 10, and we already have 11 heinous cases reported by June of this year.

And to make matters worse, hit-and-run drivers, by and large, are getting away with these crimes.  The San Diego Police Department explained that it has only solved one of the fatal hit-and-runs that have occurred since January.  As early as February of this year, NBC 7 referred to the “spike in hit-and-runs as an epidemic,” and more of these catastrophic collisions have happened since.

Examples of Fatal Hit-and-Run Accidents in San Diego County

In February 2014, San Diego news agencies had reported a “quick succession” of hit-and-run accidents.  On January 31, Seamus O’Bryan, 32, was killed by a white sedan that struck his motorcycle.  O’Bryan had been transporting himself and a friend, Peter Newbigin, who had been visiting San Diego from Australia.  The white sedan “had been traveling in the wrong lane.”  It stopped only briefly after striking O’Bryan’s motorcycle before turning and “speeding out of sight.”

Many people in the area witnessed the crash and called for an emergency medical response team.  However, O’Bryan was pronounced dead less than 30 minutes later.  San Diego detectives “were never able to track down the driver of that white sedan.”

Just three days after O’Bryan’s death, a 23-year-old Albertsons employee, Benjamin Ramirez, died in a hit-and-run accident while walking home from work.  Shortly thereafter, Alonso Flores Pacheco, an 81-year-old man from San Ysidro, was struck and killed in a similar manner.

Accident Resources and Getting Legal Help

As the article points out, the more severe a crime, the more resources that a police department will provide to track down leads.  For hit and run cases that result in fatal injuries, the San Diego Police Department does its best to collect evidence that can lead to an arrest.

However, the traffic division of the San Diego Police Department has only six detectives assigned to it due to budget constraints.  As such, “detectives juggle a stack of cases each day, which include misdemeanor traffic cases as well as felonies, like hit-and-run fatalities.”

Have you been injured in a car accident or lost a loved one because of a fatal hit-and-run collision?  It’s important to discuss your case with an experienced San Diego accident attorney, as you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries.  Contact our office to learn more about how we can assist with your case.

Photo Credit: Geoff LMV via Compfight cc

See Related Blog Posts:

Distracted Driving Fines and Accidents

San Diego Crime Stoppers Addresses Hit-and-Run Accidents

Published on:

Distracted driving is a serious problem in Southern California, and it can result in serious car accidents. Whether you’re talking on your cell phone, texting while driving, or even attempting to use a GPS device, distracted driving can lead to catastrophic injuries.  Chula Vista police have been cracking down on distracted drivers.  According to a recent article in CBS 8 San Diego, “seventy south bay motorists were facing fines Monday for using their cellphones while driving.”  This was the fourth “crackdown operation” conducted by Chula Vista police in April.

Texting and Driving

Have you sustained injuries in a serious automobile accident?  Has a loved one been injured in a traffic collision caused by a distracted driver?  You may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation.  At the Walton Law Firm, our experienced San Diego car accident attorneys have been handling cases for years and can answer your questions for you today.

Details of the Chula Vista Cell Phone Crackdown

According to the news report from CBS 8 San Diego, the ticketed drivers were issued citations between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday.  Fifteen of them were cited for texting while driving, while the remaining 55 were cited for using a cell phone “in some other manner,” according to the Chula Vista Police.

This crackdown operation was the fourth in the month of April.  On April 10, 15 drivers were cited for texting while driving, while another 60 received citations for cell phone use.  Another operation took place on April 17, when 8 drivers received tickets for texting while driving and 44 were issued citations for additional cell phone use.  A third crackdown operation took place on April 24, when 83 Chula Vista police issued citations to a total of 83 drivers.  Of those motorists, police caught 13 of them texting while driving.  The minimum citation for first-time violator is enough to make Southern California drivers think twice, at a high price of $161.  For repeat offenders, the ticket increased substantially.  Repeat offenders are issued citations of at least $281.

In other words, San Diego drivers who use their cell phones will be ticketed for distracted driving.  In California, all drivers are “required to use hands-free equipment while talking on their cellular telephones,” according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.  In addition to hand-held talking, texting while driving is illegal in California.  In case you didn’t know, there’s a “law against driving while reading, writing or sending a text message,” and the law applies to emails and instant messages, too.

Distracted Driving Statistics

Given the devastating statistics connected with distracted driving, the Chula Vista police department may have saved lives and prevented injuries with its recent crackdowns.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9 Americans suffer fatal injuries because of distracted driving everyday, and more than 1,060 sustain serious injuries.

Is distracted driving a term that only applies to using a phone in some manner while you’re behind the wheel?  The CDC explains that distracted driving is any kind of “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.”  Three primary types of driver distraction exist, and they include:

  •      Visual distraction, which involves “taking your eyes off the road”
  •      Manual distraction, which involves “taking your hands off the wheel”
  •      Cognitive distraction, which involves “taking your mind off of driving”

All three types of distraction can be very devastating, and they can result in severe accidents.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver, it’s important to speak to an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer about your case.  The injury lawyers at the Walton Law Firm can discuss your case with you today.

See Related Blog Posts:

San Diego Crime Stoppers Addresses Hit-and-Run Accidents

Fatal Distracted Driving Accident in San Diego

Photo Credit: Skip&Nell via Compfight cc