UNION TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER Kristen Davis reported that 2-year-old Jovani Louangxaysongxham of Southcrest was killed on June 18, 2010, when he ran into the path of a Allied Waste Services truck. The toddler, who was just one month shy of his third birthday, was being put into the family vehicle by his mother, when he ran across 43rd Street to greet his father and was hit by a truck, said Lt Ken Hubbs. The truck was traveling north on 43rd Street when the passenger in the truck alerted the driver, who was unable to avoided the child. Jovani went under the vehicle and was struck by its rear wheels, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The tragedy was compounded when the boy’s father and uncle attacked the truck driver requiring police to intervene. The uncle punched the officer in the head knocking him unconscious, the officer was treated at the hospital for head injuries and a cut over his left eye. The uncle was arrested.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Louangxaysongxham family and their friends.
Applicable California Law
The uncle will face criminal charges for attacking the truck driver as well as the police officer. In addition, he will be subject to civil liability for assault and battery for each attack as well as potential punitive damages (see my prior blog posts regarding punitive damages.) The officer would also have a potential workers’ comp claim. Although the boy’s father was not arrested, he still faces potential civil claims for the attack on the truck driver. Even though Jovani ran into the street, his parents could have a potential “survivor action” and wrongful death claims against the truck driver as well as his employer (see my prior Blog posts on the law regarding these issues.) Since California is a comparative fault jurisdiction, even if Jovani was the primary cause of the accident his conduct is held to the standard of a 3-year-old, and if the truck driver was inattentive, or otherwise contributed to causing the accident, the driver and his employer will be subject to claims for damages. Jovani’s mothers conduct in supervising him at the time will also be a factor in accessing damages.
A beautiful afternoon turned into tragedy, and changed the lives of all who were involved. Pedestrian accidents, truck accidents resulting in brain injury, or wrongful death are devastating to those injured and their families. Talking to an experienced personal injury attorney is invaluable.