UNION TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER Kristen Davis reported that Jovani Louangxaysongxham of Southcrest was fatally injured on June 18, 2010, as a result of running into the path of a Allied Waste Services truck. The 2-year-old toddler, just one month shy of his third birthday, darted across 43rd Street to greet his father and was hit by the truck, just as his mother was placing him in the family vehicle, according to Lt Ken Hubbs. The truck was proceeding north on 43rd Street when the passenger in the truck alerted the driver, who was unable to avoided the child. The toddler went under the truck and was struck by its rear wheels, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The tragedy was exacerbated when the boy’s uncle and father assaulted the driver requiring police to intervene. The boy’s uncle was arrested for hitting one of the police officers in the head knocking him unconscious. The officer was treated at the hospital for head injuries and a cut over his left eye.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Louangxaysongxham family and their friends.
Applicable California Law
The boy’s uncle will face potential criminal charges for assaulting 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 and potential punitive damages (see my prior blog posts regarding punitive damages). The officer would also have a potential workers’ comp claim for his injuries, which he sustained from the attack. Mr. Louangxaysongxham will also face potential civil claims for the attacking the truck driver. The fact that Jovani ran into the street, will not preclude his parents from having a potential “survivor action” and or wrongful death claims against the truck driver and his employer (see my prior Blog posts on the law regarding these issues). California being a comparative fault jurisdiction, even if the boy 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 partially at fault , or otherwise contributed to causing the accident, the driver and his employer will be subject to claims for damages. The mother’s conduct in monitoring her son at the time will also be a factor in accessing damages, if it contributed to his death.
An afternoon outing results in a tragic death, changing the lives of a family forever. Truck accidents resulting in serious injury , or wrongful death are devastating to the victims and their families. Talking to an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial to knowing your rights.