Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

The owners of the Santa Barbara dive boat that burned during the Labor Day weekend by the Chanel Islands, killing 34 people on board, including 33 passengers and one crew member, are attempting to not only limit their liability but actually are attempting to use an old Maritime law so they do not have to pay any compensation at all to the families of those killed or any money to anyone else who may have been injured.

Since this horrific incident occurred on a boat at sea it is governed by United States maritime law, which is different than the law most of us are used to.   Under U.S. maritime law, the owners of a ship may be responsible or liable for personal injuries and deaths, as well as other losses and damages.  But also under maritime law this legal responsibility or liability may be limited to the value of the ship and its freight at the end of the voyage if the owner of the ship can show the acts of negligence or unseaworthiness that caused the injury or loss were not known and should not have been known by the owners of the ship.

And, of course, the owners of the Conception, or perhaps their insurers, are trying to take advantage of this antiquated, unconscionable and unfair law to limit their liability because the value post voyage is probably nothing or zero dollars (except for some possible salvage value of the destroyed boat which may be exceeded by the salvage costs).

The 4th of July is generally a day filled with food, family and friends, and fireworks as people across the nation celebrate America. These celebrations often include alcohol and far too often people make the dangerous choice to drive while intoxicated. As a result, a significant increase in drunk driving arrests and car accidents occur.

This was the case in California over the most recent 4th of July holiday weekend. According to KTLA News, “nearly 600 suspected drunken drivers have been arrested statewide and a dozen people killed in crashes… [during] the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.” CHP began a maximum enforcement period on July 3rd that continued through Sunday July 7th.

Police reported that a total of 589 DUI arrests were made between 6 p.m. July 3rd and 6 a.m. July 5th. This is up from last year, when 389 drivers were arrested for drunk driving in a 30-hour period which worked out to be an arrest almost every 5 minutes.

Recently a tragic South Los Angeles big rig accident lead to the deaths of two young girls near Exposition Park. According to ABC 7 News, the girls were walking to school on April 4, 2019 when they were struck by the large truck.

The girls, who were sisters, were immediately rushed to the hospital for their injuries in the accident. 14-year-old Marlene Lorenzo died later that day. 12-year-old Amy Lorenzo survived the crash for several weeks in a medically induced coma, however, she recently passed away from her injuries. We send our condolences to the Lorenzo family for their losses.

In response to this tragic accident community members are calling on the city to make safety improvements in the area to help prevent this type of accident from happening again. With a school in the area, parents and students want changes like “speed bumps and improved lighting… [and] they want signage,” specifically signs explaining that the area is a school zone. These signs can help drivers be more aware that students will be crossing the street and encourage drivers to be alert and cautious when driving in the area. In the present case, investigators are still trying to determine the exact cause of the accident, but are looking into whether or not the driver was distracted at the time he hit the two girls.

Sadly, a 30-year-old bicyclist, Rigoberto Guzman, was killed in a Jurupa Valley Hit-and-Run incident. The bike accident occurred around 11 p.m. at the intersection of Limonite Avenue and Van Buren Boulevard.

According to the Redlands Daily Facts, Guzman was biking northbound on Van Buren Boulevard when he was suddenly hit by a car and the driver fled. Police say, Guzman “was flung to the far east side of the roadway, where witnesses spotted him and called 911.” Tragically, Guzman died at the scene.

Based on witness descriptions of the vehicle, police were able to locate the car and the driver that caused the accident the next day. 26-year-old Andrew Scott Walters has been arrested for causing this wrongful death bicycle accident. Police are now investigating what caused the accident in the first place, though it appears it was not drugs or alcohol.

When should the police enter into a high speed chase to catch a fleeing suspect?

How should the police balance trying to apprehend a fleeing suspect with the risk of injury to bystanders in cars and who are pedestrians?

What should be the guidelines for police dangerous high speed car and motorcycle chases?

A three-vehicle car accident in North Hollywood resulted in the death of a female pedestrian standing on the sidewalk. According to KTLA News, the crash occurred just after 3:00 p.m. on March 26, 2019, on Victory Boulevard.

Police reported that a “BMW driven by an identified male in his 20s was traveling northbound on Vineland Avenue at a high rate of speed and ran a red light, colliding with another vehicle in the intersection that was coming in southbound and making a turn onto Victory Boulevard.” This initial collision sent the BMW spinning into a CVS parking lot, where it hit another car and the curb, which sent the BMW into the air. When the car came down on the side walk, it landed on top of the woman waiting there.

Nearby witnesses did everything they could to get the car off the woman before the fire department responded but were unsuccessful. When emergency personnel finally freed the woman, she was rushed to the hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival. Officers are now investigating to determine the exact cause of the accident, including whether the BMW driver was intoxicated at the time of the incident. They also reported that the BMW was speeding when it ran the red light.

Over the weekend, a 14-year-old boy was injured in a hit-and-run accident in Ventura. The boy was skateboarding westbound on Darling Road just after 10 p.m. A car traveling eastbound down the road hit the teenager. A witness to the accident called 911.

The teenage boy was treated at the scene of the accident by first responders, then taken to Ventura County Medical Center for further treatment for his injuries sustained in the collision. In the hours following the accident, he was luckily said to be in stable condition as he was not wearing a helmet at the time he was hit.

Police are still looking for the driver of the vehicle that hit the young boy. KTLA News reported that “the vehicle did not stop, and the driver did not try rendering aid to the victim.” As of right now, Police do not have a description of the car or driver. They are asking anyone with information about this accident to contact the police at 805-339-4451.

On Sunday, a former UFC fighter was killed when he was struck by a rideshare driver. The incident, which occurred in the city of Belém, in Brazil, allegedly occurred after the passenger, Rodrigo de Lima, exited the rideshare vehicle. According to ESPN, de Lima and the driver of the vehicle, Jefferson Roger Maciel, got into some type of argument. Maciel allegedly struck de Lima from behind while de Lima was walking away, causing the death of de Lima. It is not presently known what rideshare company the driver was working for at the time of the incident.

Information coming out of Brazil so far is pretty scarce, but it appears the rideshare driver struck de Lima from behind. Assaults like this can lead to the victim falling and striking his or her head on concrete or pavement, which can lead to a traumatic brain injury. When we have seen incidences like this lead to a death, it is usually due to a severe traumatic brain injury involving bleeding of the brain.

Head injuries are very serious and a concussion, which is a traumatic brain injury, can lead to very serious complications and even death in certain circumstances. It is very important that if you (or someone you know) suffer a concussion, that you (or the other person), get checked out by a doctor right away. Often a CT scan of the brain is needed to determine if there is any brain bleeding. Sometimes the doctor can determine from the examination that a CT scan will not be necessary. This is determined by the results of the testing the doctor uses to examine the severity of the brain injury.

Recently an individual was killed as a result of a big rig truck crash on the 5 Freeway in Anaheim. KTLA News reports that just before 3 a.m. the semi-truck was involved in a crash with a Toyota Camry. The big rig semi-truck overturned on the freeway which resulted in the closure of all southbound lanes of the 5 for several hours.

Officers immediately responded to the scene. At this point, no specific details of the fatality have been released, and authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the accident. If the investigation reveals that the car driver was killed due to the fault of the big rig driver, the family of the victim will be able to bring an Anaheim wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim.

When a big rig semi-truck is involved in an accident that results in a death, the subsequent investigation is very important because it can determine which party or parties will be liable for wrongful death damages. It will be important to sort out the case facts to determine if the truck driver caused the accident by driving negligently—driving while drowsy, driving under the influence, driving while distracted—or if the accident was perhaps caused by a problem with the truck, such as a mechanical problem or a failure by the truck company to properly maintain the truck. In a big rig accident both the driver and the company that owns the truck are potential responsible parties and depending on the facts may be responsible for wrongful death damages if someone is killed as a result. Truck companies often carry large insurance policies to cover these types of incidents.

Recently a 17-year-old boy was arrested for murder after causing a deadly accident in Woodland Hills that involved four other cars. The accident occurred just after 10 p.m. at the intersection of Winnetka Avenue and Ventura Boulevard.  ABC 7 News reported that the teenager was recklessly driving a Mercedes-Benz for several blocks before causing the multi-car collision. He then sped through a red light at the busy intersection, without pausing, and slammed into a Toyota Tacoma. The force of that collision sent him spinning into a Ford Expedition and Lexus.

Tragically, the driver on the Toyota Tacoma died at the scene. The teenage driver that caused the accident and his passenger were both hospitalized.  Two others involved in the crash were in critical condition, and one other passenger suffered minor injuries. After a preliminary investigation, the police stated, “The totality of the circumstances indicates the driver of the Mercedes displayed a willful disregard for human life.” As a result, officers arrested the young driver for murder.

It is certainly heart wrenching to see the consequences of one person’s poor decision to drive recklessly. In this case, 3 other cars were impacted, several injured, and one person died, certainly leaving a family in mourning. In this situation, not only will the young driver that caused this accident face criminal charges, but he will also be civilly liable to all those harmed by his careless and reckless actions. This civil liability would come through personal injury claims by those injured in this accident and a wrongful death claim by the family of the Toyota Tacoma driver who was killed in this Woodland Hills car accident.

Contact Information