Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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.

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.

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