Articles Posted in Roll Over Accident

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Texting and driving is all too often a deadly combination.

If you were injured or a family member was killed in a car accident that may have been caused by a distracted driver, the Oceanside attorneys at The Rubinstein Law Group may be able to help you pursue the financial compensation you need and justice you deserve. We are proud to serve as advocates for car accident victims and their families from the greater San Diego area.

In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed in car accidents in which distracted driving played a role. Many of these were related to the use of cell phones and other hand-held devices.

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JG_Crash321561xx001_1_t620.jpgSan Diego Union Tribune’s Debbie Baker and Susan Shroder reported that several members of a family were injured, one fatally in a car accident on April 25, 2012. The tragic auto accident happened at around 6:30 a.m. on Interstate 805 in Sorrento Valley as the Thomas family was on their way to Disneyland. According to CHP Officer Art Athans, an unnamed woman driving a Nissan Altima stated that the driver of a Honda sedan cut her off and as she swerved to avoid it, she hit the Thomas’ Toyota Rav4 causing it to roll several times and come to rest hanging 30 feet above a Caltrans work site.

The Rav4 driver, 43-year-old Brian Thomas sustained multiple cuts, bruises and broken ribs. His wife Rebecca, 42, who was sitting in the front seat, was also injured. Their 22-year-old daughter Daniesha and 8-year-old son, who were in the back seat, received multiple injuries including cuts and bruises. However, their 66-year-old grandmother suffered a major traumatic brain injury. The family was rescued by construction workers and taken to a local hospital, where the grandmother later died from her injuries.

Our sympathy goes out to the Thomas family for their loss.

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drunkdriving_2.jpgSan Diego News 6 Mike Wille reported that 21-year-old Ashley Maya was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence and causing a fatal auto accident on February 12, 2012. According to the CHP, Maya was drunk and driving at a high rate of speed. As she attempted to merge from Highway 163 to Interstate 8, she overturned her vehicle, ejecting two of the three passengers, one of whom died at the scene. The two other passengers were injured and transported to a local hospital. Police arrested her on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

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

Applicable California Law

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prac_product-liabilityEast County Magazine reported that Carlos Martinez of Escondido sustained serious internal and head injuries when he was ejected from his vehicle. The car accident happened on January 15, 2011 at around 5 a.m.. According to the San Diego Sheriff’s office, Martinez, who was driving northbound on San Elijo Road in San Marcos, hit the center median, which caused his GMC Envoy to roll over. Martinez was ejected from the vehicle and transported to Palomar Medical Center.

Applicable California Law

Martinez will have potential claims for personal injury and lost earning and earning capacity against General Motors Corporation and the dealer where he purchased the vehicle. His claims will be based on theories of products liability (see my prior Blog post for California Products Liability Law). However, it is not clear why Martinez’s vehicle drifted into the center divide, or if he was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. If his conduct contributed to causing his own injuries, any claims he pursues will be reduced proportionately.

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UNION TRIBUNE Reporter Pauline Repard reported that drunk driving is suspected in a fatal car accident that occurred on west bound state Route 78 on August 13, 2010 in Vista. The accident happened just west of Sycamore at around 12:30 a.m.. 23-year-old Erica Oliva of Fallbrook pulled her Nissan Altima to the side of the road because one of her passengers was getting sick. The driver along with two passengers, Susana Orozco a 23 year-old woman from Escondido, and coworker at Valley View Casino, and Omar Guzman of Oceanside, exited the vehicle just before it was hit. Omar escaped injury when he stepped away from the vehicle just prior to it being hit by a Jeep Cherokee, driven by 33-year-old Debbie Sumi of San Marcos killing the two woman and injuring 21-year-old Gerardo Cortez of Oceanside who was still sitting in the Nissan.

According to CHP officer Eric Newbury, Sumi was thrown from her vehicle, because she was not wearing a seat belt, and suffered major injuries. Her 34-year-old passenger from Orange, was crushed and killed when the Jeep overturned. “We’ve had a lot of fatalities from DUIs,” Newbury said. “It’s a tragedy. Only when something like this happens is there an outrage. All the people who died today, we can’t bring them back.” Sumi was arrested at the scene, on suspicion of drunk driving and felony vehicular manslaughter, before she was transported to a local trauma center.

Our condolences go out to the friends and families of the deceased.

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NORTH COUNTY TIMES reporter Morgan Cook reported that an auto accident on July 23, 2010 resulted in the death of Yazmin Rodriguez the 18-year-old driver of an automobile that was hit by a truck. According to police the accident occurred around 9 p.m. at the intersection of Escondido Blvd and Center City Parkway. The teenager, who was attempting to make a left turn onto Center City Parkway from a stop signal on Escondido Blvd, was hit by a pick up truck being driven by a 37-year-old man. The driver of the truck was injured when his truck rolled over and the collision caused the death of the teen driver, and injuries to her passenger.

Applicable California Law

California Vehicle Code Section 21804 requires the driver of a vehicle who is entering a highway to yield the right of way to any vehicle that is approaching and is close enough to pose a risk. At first blush, without additional facts, it would seem that the young woman was at fault for not yielding the right of way to the truck. However, if the truck driver was speeding or was inattentive, he could be partially at fault for causing the accident. The driver of the truck would have a claim against the woman’s estate for property damage and personal injury, which would be reduced to the extent he contributed to causing the accident, if at all. If the truck driver was partially at fault the woman’s heirs would have claims, under a survivor action and wrongful death (See my prior Blog posts on survivor actions and wrongful death). The passenger, in the woman’s vehicle, could pursue bodily injury claims against her estate and possibly against the driver of the truck.

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According to San Diego 6 News, four people were injured in an auto accident in Point Loma when a vehicle turning left on Talbot Street was struck by another vehicle coming down the hill causing it to roll over. San Diego Fire rescue crews responded around 2:45 p.m. and rescued two people trapped in the roll over vehicle. Two more people were also injured according to authorities.

Applicable California Law

Generally speaking any vehicle turning left has to yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is close enough to constitute a hazard, California vehicle code 21801(a). It is not clear if the left turning vehicle saw the other vehicle, or how close it was before it started its turn. If the other vehicle that was coming down the hill in the opposite direction was doing so at an unsafe speed or if the driver of that vehicle was inattentive they could be partly responsible. This would reduce the value of any claims they would have. As to the passengers in both vehicles they would have personal injury claims against the left turn driver and possibly the other driver as well. However, if either passenger were a family member living in the same household as the driver of their vehicle they could be subject to a family exclusion under the drivers insurance policy. If a family exclusion was applicable they would be precluded from making any liability claim against their driver.