Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accident

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San Diego personal injury lawyers often receive calls to represent individuals injured as a result of car accidents. crosswalkDriving is a large part of Southern California culture.

The California Court of Appeals recently reached a decision in a Los Angeles car accident case, Ramos v. Pong, Cal. Ct. App. (2017), which is instructive on the matter of cases in which a pedestrian is hit and injured by a driver who then flees the scene.

The case arose out of an incident in which the defendant driver hit a pedestrian crossing the street. The defendant conceded negligence by way of a pre-trial stipulation, thus making the sole issue at trial that of damages. The defendant had offered a settlement under Code of Civil Procedure section 998 in excess of $20,000. At trial, however, the jury awarded the plaintiff damages of $16,800. The plaintiff appealed, challenging in particular the trial court’s ruling to exclude evidence regarding the defendant’s failure to stop.

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A California Appeals Court recently reached a decision in a car accident case clarifying the extent to which a defendant can require a plaintiff to submit to a particular kind of examination during the course of a personal injury lawsuit. The case involved a lower court’s decision to allow the defendant to have the plaintiff undergo a vocational rehabilitation examination during the course of evidence gathering, called discovery, so that the defendants’ expert could reach an opinion as to whether and to which extent the plaintiff could pursue gainful employment.car accident

The underlying incident occurred in November 2012 when the plaintiff was delivering packages at a university in his capacity as an employee of On Trac. As he was delivering packages from his parked truck, the car owned by one of the co-defendants, which was parked by the other co-defendant, an employee of the university (later added as an additional defendant), purportedly rolled down a hill and struck the plaintiff. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained multiple fractures to his right femur and pelvis, requiring surgery. At the time of the decision, he had not returned to work since the accident.

In September 2013, the plaintiff filed suit against the owner of the car and the individual who had been driving the car that day. He later amended his complaint to add the university as a defendant. The plaintiff sought compensatory damages for wage loss and loss of earning capacity, among other claims.

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Accident Attorney Zev Rubinstein has 25+ years experience in Carlsbad, all of Southern CAJust four states accounted for over 40% of the nation’s pedestrian traffic fatalities in 2013. Unfortunately, according to preliminary data, California will again be among those four states for 2014 with exactly 250 pedestrians killed in accidents during the first half of the year.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, California led the country in 2013 for pedestrian traffic deaths with over 700 fatalities. For the data available for January to June 2014, Florida outpaced our state with nearly 300 deaths stemming from vehicle collisions.

Pedestrians are significantly more prone to serious injury than other types of travelers. When a vehicle hits a person on foot, even at low speeds the outcome can be traumatic. Risk of an accident where a pedestrian is hurt or killed can increase due to a variety of factors, including:

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San-Diego-Accident-Lawyers.jpgSan Diego Union Tribune reported that 20-year-old Landen Swanson of Vista was taken off life support from injuries he sustained in an auto accident on January 9, 2012. Swanson suffered a brain injury resulting from head trauma when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver while skateboarding on Alamitos Way and Orlando Avenue in San Marcos, on his way home from work. According to sheriff’s Sgt. Stephanie Guerra, the driver of the vehicle that hit him fled the scene, but later called police and told them he was involved in the incident. He was later arrested and criminal charges are pending.

Applicable California Law

The driver of the hit-and-run vehicle will face felony criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury or death (see my prior Blog post on Hit-And Run law in California). Furthermore, he will be subject to civil claims by the Swanson family for the wrongful death of Landen (see my prior Blog post on California Wrongful Law And Survivor Actions). As always, whenever there is a fatality or catastrophic injuries, the adequacy of the responsible parties’ insurance and assets are at issue (see my prior Blog post on California Uninsured And Underinsured Law).

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pedestrian-accident-area.jpgSan Diego NBC News Joseph Young reported that members of a San Diego family were seriously injured in a auto accident on January 8, 2012. The car accident happened at around 11a.m. at the corner of University and 4th Street. The unnamed couple and their 3-year-old daughter were in the crosswalk when a vehicle making a turn through the intersection struck the woman and her child. Cody Defrate, a witness who called 911 for help stated that “The intersection’s crazy.” “Cars turning the wrong way, people aren’t paying attention when they cross the street. It’s not just pedestrians. It’s mostly the cars honestly.” The child and her mother were taken to a local hospital with potential life-threatening injuries.

Applicable California Law

California Vehicle Code 21950 requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. Thus, the driver and owner of the vehicle that struck the woman and her child will face potential claims for their personal injuries. If their injuries result in either victim’s death, their heirs could pursue claims for wrongful death (see my prior Blog post for Wrongful Death Law in California). However, the statute also requires pedestrians to exercise due care for his or her own safety. Thus, if the couple was inattentive and contributed to their own injuries, this could reduce the value of any potential claims.

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Transportation-Pedestrian_Hit_or_Killed_Web_Graphic_20100616145138_320_240.jpgOrange County Register Alejandra Molina reported that Ruben Chavez, a 31-year-old truck driver from Tijuana was struck and killed on September 27, 2011. The fatal auto accident happened at around 6 a.m. on Interstate-5 near the Avenida Vista Hermosa exit. According to CHP officer Chris Goodwin, Chavez pulled to the side of the road due to mechanical problems with his truck. Chavez exited his truck and was standing on its left side when an unnamed 64-year-old San Diego man in a BMW traveling in the No. 4 lane drifted onto the right shoulder and sideswiped the truck and hit Chavez, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident is still under investigation.

Our condolences go out to the Chavez family and friends.

Applicable California Law

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pedestrian-injuries.jpgSIGNON SAN DIEGO Susan Shroder reported that Sharlotte Kingston a 36-year-old Poway woman, was struck by a pickup truck while walking her dog on September 13, 2011. The truck accident happened on Valley Verde Road and Dorset Way at around 11 a.m. According to Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Vengler, a 58-year-old Poway man allegedly lost control of his truck, hit a street sign, and then the woman. She sustained multiple injuries, including a head injury and was transported to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido in critical condition.

Applicable California Law

The pickup truck driver will be liable for the woman’s personal injuries and for violation of Vehicle Code 21658, which requires drivers to stay within their lane unless any movement can be made safely. The woman’s claims would include economic damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity. In addition, there would be damages for pain and suffering, to include past and future physical pain, mental suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress. Given a significant head injury, her damages will be significant and hopefully the truck driver has enough assets and or insurance coverage to adequately compensate the victim for her injuries (see my prior Blog post Uninsured / Under-insured Auto and General Accident Guide).

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untitledSan Diego News 10 reported that an unnamed 25-year-old woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver on August 22, 2011. The auto accident happened at around 3:30 a.m. on state Route 76 near the La Jolla Indian Reservation. The woman was walking on the side of the road when she was struck by a 2002 Ford Taurus, whose driver fled the scene. According to CHP officer Chris Parent, the vehicle was found abandoned near Valley Center Road and the alleged driver Rickey Burns, 69, of Escondido was later arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased woman.

Applicable California Law

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crisis2San Diego News 10 reported on the physical pain and tragic loss of a loved one experienced by David Abilez who survived an auto accident on June 3, 2011. Abilez, his girlfriend, and her son were waiting at a bus stop in City Heights when they were struck by a PT Cruiser being driven by Jean Chizer-Williams,71, who suffered a diabetic attack and was driving with a suspended license (see my prior Blog post San Diego Bus Stop Auto Accident Kills One And Seriously Injures Two). Abilez sustained multiple serious injuries including a compound fracture of his leg, requiring doctors to surgically insert a rod to support his leg. Even more devastating was the loss of his girlfriend Vanessa Shane. As he choked back the tears, Abilez was quoted as saying, “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.” “She is the most innocent and caring person in the world.” Vanessa’s son Elijah suffered a broken arm, a punctured lung, and according to family members, he is still having nightmares and trouble coping with the loss of his mother.

Applicable California Law

For analyses of the legal theories on liability and damages see my prior Blog post San Diego Bus Stop Auto Accident Kills One And Seriously Injures Two). Beyond the physical injuries and monetary damages are the emotional and psychological impacts. Community resources such as the county of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and San Diego Youth Services provide support for those in crisis, as well as other agencies such as San Diego Family Services.

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pedestrian-accidentSan Diego Union Tribune Pauline Repard reported that 71-year-old Jan Chizer-Williams of San Diego lost control of her PT Cruiser, struck, and fatally injured a woman and seriously injured her boyfriend and son on June 3, 2011. The auto accident occurred on University Avenue and Euclid Avenue in City Heights while the three victims were waiting at a bus bench. According to police investigator, officer Dan Wall, the driver suffered a severe low-blood sugar diabetic episode causing her to loose control of her vehicle, jump the curb, heading straight for the bus bench striking the victims and running into a building. Police and paramedics responded, Wall reported that the 10 year-old-boy was knocked unconscious, suffered a broken arm, multiple cuts and was transported to Rady hospital. His 25-year-old mother was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital where she later died. Her 28-year-old boyfriend was taken to UCSD Medical Center with multiple fractures to his leg and feet.

Our sympathy goes out to the boy, his family and friends of the deceased.

Applicable California Law