Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

According to the Los Angeles Times, a 22-year-old motorcyclist died after he was hit by a Lyft driver in Costa Mesa. The police responded to the scene of the crash, which occurred around 8:50 p.m., and found the motorcyclist unresponsive.  The accident occurred as the motorcyclist was traveling north on Fairview Road. The Lyft driver was traveling west and made a left turn, causing the collision. “The Lyft driver had just completed a trip to the Mesa del Mar neighborhood and had no passengers at the time of the collision.”

Ride sharing apps like Lyft and Uber are now a part of life, especially in busy areas like Los Angeles. For some time, it was unclear if Lyft and Uber could be held responsible for injuries and deaths caused by their drivers. Now, they offer insurance coverage for their drivers, however, how much liability they have depends on if or how the driver was using the app at the time of the accident. For example, in this motorcycle/Lyft accident it makes a difference that the Lyft driver had completed a trip and did not have a passenger in the car.

According to the Uber and Lyft websites, their insurance coverage for drivers is categorized to how the driver is using their car:

CBS Los Angeles News reported that a woman was killed by a metro bus while waiting at the bus stop. The Los Angeles Bus Accident occurred in the early morning around 12:20 a.m. The woman was identified as Heather Kirkorowicz, who was 41-years-old.

Police are currently investigating what caused the accident. Initial reports suggest that Kirkorowicz may have been hit as she was trying to flag down the bus. It appears that she may have stepped off the curb and into the street as the bus approached, which resulted in her being hit. The bus driver stayed at the scene and cooperated with the police after the incident.

Bus accidents are always frightening. Because of the size, force and momentum of a bus, occupants of vehicles or pedestrians hit by a bus frequently sustain catastrophic injuries, including fatalities. A bus accident will generally always involve an in-depth investigation to determine what caused the accident. Luckily, many buses are equipped with video cameras that can be useful in determining what happened.

You cannot drive around the greater Los Angeles area without seeing Uber and Lyft vehicles everywhere. They are a very helpful service for many people who need transportation. In fact, we often assist our seriously injured clients with obtaining transportation to their medical appointments, via Uber or Lyft.

Uber and Lyft have obviously disrupted the transportation industry. Previously, people would have to call a taxi company, give them their pick up address, and the taxi company would send a taxi to pick up that person in a certain time range. Now, people just go onto the app from their smart phone, which already has their location, and they can get the price of the ride in advance and often a car within minutes.

With this great benefit in convenience, however, comes certain problems. Uber and Lyft vehicles are all over the road. Sometimes Uber and Lyft drivers are waiting by curbs or in parking spots, other times they are just driving around waiting for a ride. Once they get the ride, they have to act quickly to confirm the ride and get to the pick up spot. Once they have the passenger, they frequently want to drop the passenger off at the destination as quickly as possible so that they can pick up the next rider and make more money.

Los Angeles Police are searching for a vehicle that was involved in causing a deadly bicycle accident in Koreatown. ABC New 7 reported that the collision occurred in the early morning around 3:30 a.m. According to witnesses the man was struck by a motorist who immediately fled the scene.

Because the bicyclist was thrown into the street, he was subsequently hit by two other vehicles. Officers have not yet identified the man, though he was said to be in his thirties, and he died at the scene due to the severity of his injuries.

In a hit-and-run bicycle case like this one, that occurred in the early morning with few witnesses, officers are beginning their investigation by searching the area to see if the incident was caught on camera so they can try to find the car that caused the accident. They have asked anyone with information on this accident to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at (213) 473-0222.

On the afternoon of Super Bowl Sunday, a small plane crashed into a Yorba Linda home sending debris throughout the neighborhood. The pilot was killed in the crash, as well as four people in the Yorba Linda home. The victims—Roy Anderson, 85, and his wife, Dahlia Leber Anderson, 68, as well as their two visiting relatives, Stacie Leber, 48, of Corona and Donald Elliott, 58, of Norco—were killed when the plane crashed into the home, immediately setting the home on fire.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Cessna plane flown by 75-year-old Antonio Pastini of Nevada took off from Fullerton airport around 1:35 p.m. It had only flown about 10 miles and gained about 7,800 feet of elevation when witnesses saw the plane falling out of the sky. The plane broke apart as it fell, losing its tail, wings, and engine. Debris from the plane hit approximately 16 homes. According to the report, “a piece of the plane’s engine knocked down a pillar on the front porch and torpedoed through a first-floor window, flying through two rooms before landing in a bathroom.” Additionally, pieces of the exhaust pipe went through a window, melting the carpet, and a propeller landed in their driveway.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board started investigating the crash the next day. Because the plane broke apart midair, they do not suspect it was intentional. However, they will be trying to determine what caused this tragic accident.

The family of Walter Winfield is bringing a wrongful death claim against an Island Empire hotel after Walter died from contracting a deadly illness while staying at the hotel. Last year, Walter visited the Island Empire hotel (then owned by Best Western) while on a family vacation. During his stay at the hotel, he spent time in the swimming pool and hot tub. Just weeks after the trip, Walter died from Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia.

The bacteria that caused the Legionnaires’ disease in Walter is called Legionella. According to ABC 7 News, the exact strain of Legionella found in Walter’s body was found in the hotel’s pool. The fact that makes this situation particularly tragic is that the hotel had been “repeatedly notified and warned of numerous California Health and Safety Code violations [of their pool] and that the water quality was ‘critical’ prior to Winfield’s stay.”

It appears that over the past several years, the hotel has had over 25 violations, including improper chlorine and pH levels in the pools. As it turns out, two days before Walter’s death,

On Tuesday, February 5, 2019, an Oceanside family suffered a terrible tragedy when their Mazda was struck by a Toyota Tacoma. Around 1:00 p.m., the family members were driving together on the S. Coast Highway. The driver of the Toyota Tacoma ran a red light, smashing into the Mazda. The horrific car accident resulted in the wrongful deaths of Rufina Rodriguez, 74, Petra Arango, 40, and 56-year-old Eloina Arango—a mother and her two daughters.

The other family members in the Mazda included the family father and son-in-law who were sitting in the front seat and sustained serious injuries in the accident. The last passenger, a 13-year-old granddaughter, was ejected from the vehicle and seriously injured. These surviving passengers were rushed to the hospital for their injuries.

Perhaps the most tragic part of this story, is that this accident could have totally been avoided. The driver of the Tacoma, identified as 19-year-old Mason Fish, was driving under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the accident. Additionally, ABC 10 News reported that “according to DMV records, Fish’s driver’s license was listed as suspended or revoked on Jan. 26, 2019. Records also showed Fish had been involved in three prior crashes on Dec. 23, 2017; Jan. 25, 2018; and Sept. 5, 2018.”

Far too often car accidents are caused by a careless (negligent) driver who was speeding or driving recklessly on the road. This was the case in a recent Los Angeles car accident that resulted in the deaths of two people and left four others seriously injured.

According to ABC 7 News, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to an accident scene in Northridge around 2:00 in the afternoon, after a local resident reported the crash. Two adult men were driving in a custom-built kit car, when the driver lost control. The kit car veered into oncoming traffic and hit a sedan carrying four passengers.

Photos of the scene show both cars completely mangled by the collision. Both the driver and the passenger in the kit car were killed—the passenger died at the scene and the driver later died from his serious injuries sustained in the crash. The driver and three passengers in the sedan were trapped in their car. Emergency personnel pried open the car and rushed all four to the hospital in critical condition.

The Redondo Beach intersection of Aviation Boulevard and Grant Avenue was the scene of a tragic hit-and-run accident this past weekend. According to Fox 11 News, the accident occurred Saturday night just after 9:00 p.m. A 21-year-old woman, Angelina Pinedo, was crossing the street with her sister when she was struck by a black Audi Q5, which then failed to stop and fled the scene.

Tragically Pinedo was pronounced dead at the scene. The sisters were crossing a crosswalk at the time the incident occurred, but the black Audi drove through the intersection without stopping. Pinedo was visiting her sister while on break from school at San Francisco State University. Police immediately began an investigation to find the driver behind the incident.

By Monday morning, the police reported they had located an Audi SUV with damage to the front end, the windshield, and hood. This led the police to further investigate the car owner and Leila Gonzalez, also 21-years-old, was arrested. “Detectives say she admitted she was driving the vehicle involved in the collision.” She was booked at the Redondo Beach jail on felony hit-and-run resulting in death/injury and is being held on $50,000 bail. Redondo Beach Police have asked for anyone who witnessed the accident, or anyone with more information about the incident, to contact them right away.

A couple from North Dakota, Jessica and Troy Nelson, was killed week while vacationing in San Diego when a large tree collapsed onto the house they were renting during their stay. The couple was staying on the top floor of a two-story home in Point Loma Heights when heavy wind sent the tree crashing into the home.

Fox 5 San Diego reported that the incident occurred around 6 a.m. and the couple was upstairs sleeping. A third person was in the home on the first story—he was rescued by firefighters and was not seriously hurt.

According to neighbors, the owner of the home rents out the house as a short-term or vacation rental. When the crash occurred, many neighbors were woken up by the noise and hurried outside to see the tree toppled onto the home. One neighbor said the tree had been pruned and re-pruned, calling it “an accident waiting to happen.” Another neighbor reported the tree had been at the center of a dispute between the property owners on either side of the tree, with one owner “reluctant to have it removed.”

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