Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Driver Dies in Lakeside Rollover Accident

“How Stuff Works” stated that a rollover accident is the deadliest risk that minivan, truck, and SUV occupants can face while on the roads. True enough, another man recently died after his SUV overturned in Lakeside.

According to reports, a 1994 Jeep Cherokee that was being driven by a 49-year-old man from Valley Center went off the road onto a soft shoulder.

When the driver saw that the SUV was moving towards a call box, he suddenly overreacted and flipped the vehicle, said police.

The SUV landed on its wheels near the four-lane road’s median. Although the driver was wearing his seatbelt, he still died when the vehicle’s roof collapsed.

Reports said he sustained massive head injuries.

Authorities closed at least one northbound state Route 67 lane for numerous hours to give way for the investigation.

The man’s identity was withheld by the authorities and will be only released after his family has been notified.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Woman with DUI History Convicted of Murder after Crash

“Don’t drink and drive” is a simple and popular saying meant to advice drivers regarding the dangers of driving a vehicle while a person is impaired by the effects of a substance that he has taken.

A 21-year-old woman who has a history of DUI conviction was recently found guilty of murder after she drove a vehicle while drunk and got involved in high-speed accident that killed April Whang.

Brittany Schuetz was convicted by an Orange County Superior Court jury after records revealed that her blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was five times higher than the imposed legal limit.

According to the case’s prosecutors, the driver was on probation because of a drunk driving conviction in 2007. However, she still consumed a number of alcoholic beverages while at a party before driving off.

Reports show that the woman ran a red light while moving at a speed of 90 mph when she crashed into the victim’s vehicle.

Schuetz faces a maximum sentence in jail that can last from 15 years to life.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Police Still Investigating Hit-and-Run Accident that Killed 6-Year-Old Kid Last November

Menlo Park police closed down a portion of Highway 84 to recreate the hit-and-run accident that killed 6-year-old Lisa Xavier last November.

Lisa was aboard a car with her parents on Highway 84, or Bayfront Expressway, when an alleged street racer slammed their vehicle.

The alleged street racer left the scene of the accident.

No arrests were made but the police are still looking for a “person of interest” in the case identified as Shannon Fox, 24.

It’s not known when the reconstruction will end but all motorists driving into Menlo Park on the Dumbarton Bridge are being diverted onto University Avenue.

Hopefully the police can get a breakthrough in the case and find the culprit who was responsible for this tragedy.

It is bad enough that the suspect was engaged in street racing but it is even worse that he was not man enough to face the consequences of his actions.

According to the law, a person who engages in street racing is automatically committing reckless driving and the act is aggravated if any person died or got injured as a result of the act.

Aside from a wrongful death lawsuit, the hit-and-run driver can also be criminally liable.

He (or she) can be charged with homicide and even murder.

Not to mention that he left the scene of the accident. That would certainly factor in the penalties and punishment he will receive.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bicyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run Accident

It is not clear yet who had the right of way in the accident that killed a bicyclist in Compton Monday afternoon.

However, one thing is for sure, the driver of the van that hit him is in a big legal trouble.
According to reports, the hit-and-run accident occurred near Compton Avenue and Dwight Avenue at about 1:23pm

The bicyclist was going north on Dwight when he was struck by a 1990 vintage grey Ford Aerostar van that was going east on Compton.

The bicyclist was pronounced dead on the scene and the van was nowhere in sight.
Now the police are searching for the van and the driver.

Under the law, we are required to stop after a vehicle accident.

We are required to exchange information and we are required to provide reasonable assistance to those who are hurt.

Who knows, the bicyclist could have been saved if only he stopped and made arrangements for the victim to be treated immediately.

Now, civil liabilities are the least of his problem.

He may be charged with homicide for the death of the bicyclist and could spend some time in jail.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Court of Appeals Upholds Catsouras’ Claim for Damages Against CHP

Long after 18-year-old Nikki Catsouras was killed in a car accident in 2006; her family continues to be haunted by her death.

The California Highway Patrol officers who responded to the accident callously took pictures of the teenager’s mangled remains, pictures which later on spread online to more than a hundred sites and viciously circulated via e-mail all throughout town.

Nikki’s were posted in Myspace account where cruel comments claimed she deserved her gruesome death. Pictures of her, some with her nearly decapitated head featured also made its way to sadistic blogs devoted to pornography and death.

Incensed, the family filed a civil lawsuit against the CHP for negligence, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional harm.

Their case was dismissed by Orange County Superior Court Judge Steven L. Perk. The judge ruled that the agency and its employees had no legal duty to protect the privacy of the surviving Catsouras family.

However, their appeal after almost 2 years was granted by a California appeals court. The court found that the CHP officers violated the family's right to privacy and is guilty of causing emotional distress to the Catsouras family.

The Catsouras family is pursuing damages worth $20 million against the CHP.

Under the law, damages are usually paid to compensate the claimant for loss, injury, or harm suffered because of another party’s breach of duty or negligence.

A claim for damages can also be made under the Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED) tort. While emotional distress is hard to quantify, the victim’s pain and suffering because of a defendant’s reckless or intentional act can be the basis of damages.

There are usually four elements to an IIED claim:
• The defendant acted intentionally or recklessly
• Such conduct was extreme and outrageous
• The said act is the cause of the distress
• Plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of said conduct
A civil litigation attorney or a personal injury attorney would know best how to handle and represent such claims.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Possible Sleeping Woman Causes Fatal Crash

A woman whom authorities believed to have dozed off while driving was killed after she swerved onto the path of an oncoming truck carrying propane canister near Brannan Island Road.

Witnesses say that the unidentified woman was going 55 mph on her Honda Civic along Highway 160 when she suddenly drifted across the road and over-corrected by swerving onto the path of the truck.

The Civic was wrecked and the driver of the truck had to be taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

Rumble strips are installed in roads so that drivers who fall asleep will be awakened. Fatigue and sleepiness are serious threats to one’s safe driving. It is important to always be alert on roads so as to avoid vehicle accidents.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Man Arrested after Fatal Crash Involving 11-year-old Driver

It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to prohibit children from operating a vehicle because they are not yet skilled and qualified to do so.

A 34-year-old man who may have permitted an 11-year-old boy to drive a vehicle now faces possible jail time because his actions allegedly resulted to a vehicle accident that ended the lives of three people.

Authorities arrested Froylan Zamora Gonzales after he was released from Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where he received treatment for injuries he sustained in the Jan. 11 fatal accident.

The man was booked on the suspicion of two counts of child endangerment and three counts of vehicular manslaughter.

According to reports, Jose Silva Covarrubias, 11, was driving a 1993 Honda and was unable to stop at a stop sign. A car that was being driven by Charles Seguin, 44, from Porterville, then broadsided the vehicle.

Jose, his 30-year-old mother Maria Silva Covarrubias, and six-year-old sister Elizabeth Silva Covarrubias all died in the incident. Meanwhile, Gonzales sustained major injuries.

A family’s relative previously claimed that Gonzales may have been giving the boy driving lessons because it is the only reason why the boy was operating the vehicle.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Woman Loses her Unborn Child in Car Accident

Nothing hurts a mother more than to endure almost nine months of pregnancy, only to lose her baby even before he or she was born.

That is probably what the woman from this news item is feeling right now after the vehicle accident that killed her unborn child.

According to reports, the eight month pregnant woman was a passenger in a car that made an “unsafe left turn” then collided with a lunch truck and another vehicle at the intersection of West Washington Boulevard and South Western Avenue in Harvard Heights.

The woman sustained injuries and was brought to a hospital where her child was declared dead.

In this case, the woman can file a personal injury claim for her own injuries and a wrongful death claim for her unborn child.

Under the law, a passenger cannot be held liable for a car accident unless he or she distracted the driver.

Not only can she collect for the expenses brought by her injuries and the death of her child, she can also collect for the monetary equivalent of the pain, grief and suffering she endured because of the events that happened.

The monetary compensation will not replace her child but it’s an amount that she deserves for what she lost.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Driver Arrested for Death of Bicyclist

In Los Gatos, 28-year-old bicyclist Joshua West has just taken his 7-year old daughter to school and was on his way to his physical therapy class for his back pain when he was struck and killed by an out-of-control Chevrolet Blazer.

According to police, the SUV jumped onto the pedestrian curb where West was hit and struck a steel pedestrian barricade past the intersection of Garden Hill Drive before it rolled over after it hit a traffic signal pole.

Witnesses told the police that the driver, Kevin Derr of San Jose, appeared to be driving at least 50 mph and trying to beat slow-moving traffic on Lark Avenue. The speed limit is 30 mph.

Sgt. Kerry Harris said West was pronounced dead at the scene despite the attempts of witnesses to revive him. The police also noted that there were no skid marks at the scene which indicated that Derr did not try to stop or hit his brakes.

Derr was injured in the rollover crash accident and was taken to the Valley Medical Center. He was later arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Bicycle collision fatalities account for about 2 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths – in 2008, there was a total of 714 bicyclists killed. Nearly 91 percent of all bicyclists killed were reportedly not wearing helmets.

Roads are meant to be shared by all drivers, riders and pedestrians but road safety goes flying out the window when either one of these parties become impatient and start to violate traffic rules and regulations.

Failure to yield is one of the most common road violations committed which often leads to collisions but in West’s case, Derr’s blatant disregard of the traffic laws (re: posted speed limit) was the proximate cause of the accident.

Rules and traffic signs and signals are meant to be obeyed at all times as these have been installed to protect the people from hurting each other and themselves.

Derr’s gross negligence in observing traffic rules and irresponsible driving does not only merit criminal charges – West’s family can rightfully file a civil case of wrongful death against him and recover monetary damages.

A wrongful death claim usually arises when a person is killed as a result of negligence or improper conduct and may be filed by the surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents of the victim.