San Diego Union Tribune Harry Jones reported that a San Diego man riding a motorized scooter/wheelchair sustained serious injuries including a severe head injury after being struck by a hit-and run driver at around 10:30 a.m. in National City Christmas morning. According to police Sgt. Robert Rounds, the 57-year-old victim was riding along the shoulder of Paradise Valley Road near 8th Street when he was hit by a burgundy pickup truck. “It totally destroyed the wheelchair and sent the man flying through the air,” Rounds said. Joshua Becerra, 22, of San Diego, the driver of the truck, stopped briefly to pick up the debris from the truck and then fled from the scene. Later in the day Becerra’s uncle called police and Becerra was taken into custody. Rounds said, “If the driver had just stuck around, he probably would’ve been OK, but when you leave like that it becomes a felony.” The victim who was in a serious condition was hospitalized for head injuries.
Applicable California Law
Becerra will face criminal charges for felony hit-and-run in violation of California Vehicle Code 20001, which details the requirements and penalties for drivers involved in vehicular accidents resulting in personal injury (see my prior Blog post for California hit-and-run law). In addition, Becerra will face civil claims for the victim’s personal injuries for his medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity as well as compensation for pain and suffering. However, the fact that the victim was riding in the street and if his conduct contributed to causing his own injuries, his claims would be reduced proportionately to his own negligence. Since the victim sustained a serious head injury, Becerra’s liability insurance limits are at issue. If Becerra’s liability insurance limits, or personal assets are inadequate, the victim can be covered by his own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (see my prior Blog post on California uninsured/underinsured liability coverage)
.A beautiful Christmas day turns into tragedy. Auto accidents and truck accidents involving pedestrians generally result in serious injuries such as brain injuries. Experience and knowledge of the law as well as the proper medical treatment to address serious injuries are some of the benefits in talking to an experienced personal injury attorney.