Anniversary of Las Vegas Shooting Marked with Memorials

October 5, 2018 News, Personal Injury Lawsuits, Wrongful Death Claims

Monday, October 1, 2018, marked the one-year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting that took the lives of 58 attendees

Group of people holding candle vigil

Monday, October 1, 2018, marked the one-year anniversary of the Las Vegas shooting that took the lives of 58 attendees of the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Hundreds more were injured in the attack. People in and around Las Vegas marked the event with memorials. Meanwhile, investigations have still not revealed a clear motive for the massacre.

Shooting anniversary marked by memorials and homecoming

Officials throughout Nevada recognized the enormity of the anniversary. Governor Brian Sandoval ordered that all state and federal flags fly at half staff from sunrise to sunset. The Las Vegas Portraits Project, a display of artwork of the victims, is on display at the Clark County Government Center through October 19. A shooting survivor from Los Angeles, Dennis Guerrero, started a nonprofit called LoveWins and it is raising money to help the families left behind by the 58 who died.

Remarkably, just a few days before the anniversary, Rosemarie Melanson was released from the hospital. There were over 800 people injured in the shooting and Melanson was the last of the victims to remain hospitalized. She suffered bullet wounds to several organs and was placed on life support immediately after the shooting. Miraculously, she survived, and after nearly a year in the hospital, she finally returned home.

Federal court denies request of venue owner MGM

More than 20,000 people were attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival when Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more. Since then, more than 2,000 people have either sued or threatened to sue those connected with the venue or the shooter.

Hundreds of victims have joined in five lawsuits in state courts in California and Nevada, naming as defendants MGM Resorts International for allegedly not having proper security procedures and trained staff; concert organizer Live Nation for allegedly not having adequate exits and trained employees; and the estate of shooter Stephen Paddock.

MGM, the owner of Mandalay Bay, took a highly unusual step and filed a federal lawsuit naming about 2,000 people who were have sued or threatened to sue the company, requesting that the court issue a declaratory judgment stating that MGM is not liable, and requesting that all of the lawsuits against it be pooled together in multi-district litigation (MDL). Earlier this month, MGM’s requests were denied, allowing existing and future lawsuits against it to proceed in state courts without being transferred to an MDL docket.

Fighting for rights of injury victims in California

Los Angeles personal injury attorney Sean Salamati understands the legal battle that the shooting victims and their families face. The Salamati Law Firm has dedicated the past two decades to fighting for the rights of personal injury victims in LA and around Southern California. If you have been injured and believe someone else bears legal responsibility, call today to schedule a free confidential consultation.

Additional resources on Las Vegas shooting updates:

  1. Bloomberg, MGM Resorts Can’t Centralize Mass Shooting Lawsuits Panel Rules, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-03/mgm-resorts-can-t-centralize-mass-shooting-lawsuits-panel-rules
  2. Fox News, Las Vegas shooting: Memorial events mark 1-year anniversary as massacre motive still shrouded in mystery, https://www.foxnews.com/us/las-vegas-shooting-memorial-events-mark-1-year-anniversary-as-massacre-motive-still-shrouded-in-mystery
  3. Fox News, Las Vegas massacre survivor leaves hospital year after shooting, https://www.foxnews.com/us/las-vegas-massacre-survivor-leaves-hospital-year-after-shooting
, Read More

Victims of Las Vegas Shooting File Lawsuits in California

December 10, 2017 News

The largest mass shooting in U.S. history took place on October 1, when a gunman opened fire on a crowd

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept, blue tone

The largest mass shooting in U.S. history took place on October 1, when a gunman opened fire on a crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. The alleged shooter, Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people, injured another 500, and impacted countless other witnesses in attendance and families of victims. Hundreds of individuals, including victims and family members, are seeking legal recourse through a series of lawsuits in California.

Though the shooting took place in Nevada, the lawsuits were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuits were filed in Southern California because most of the victims were treated here and it is the corporate home of the defendant Live Nation.

Mandalay Bay Hotel and festival organizers face Las Vegas shooting lawsuit

Last month, more than 450 victims and family members filed five lawsuits against Mandalay Bay Resort – owned by MGM Resorts International – and Live Nation – promoter of the Rt. 91 Harvest Festival. The lawsuits allege that the businesses did not do enough to prevent or minimize the attack.

According to the plaintiffs, Mandalay Bay, the hotel where Paddock was staying and from where he allegedly engaged in the shooting, unreasonably failed to prevent Paddock from stockpiling weapons in his room. It is also accused of breaching a duty by not calling the police for several minutes after Paddock reportedly shot one of its security guards. Live Nation is accused of not having adequate exits at the music festival and improperly trained employees.

Live Nation has not commented on the lawsuits. MGM Resorts, however, released a statement saying, “The incident that took place on October 1st was a terrible tragedy perpetrated by an evil man. These kinds of lawsuits are not unexpected and we intend to defend ourselves against them. That said, out of respect for the victims, we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels.”

Las Vegas shooting victims face financial challenges

Many victims of the Las Vegas tragedy are in the midst of economic strain as a result of the shooting. Several funds have been set up for their benefit but the number of victims means many will receive any help toward medical bills and other expenses.

The largest concerted effort to help the victims, the Las Vegas Victims’ Fund, has received a combined $16 million across several platforms including gofundme and a bank-hosted collection. However, with hundreds of victims, organizers announced the need to prioritize claims in such a way that some of those who were shot will not be able to collect from the fund.

It has been estimated that to match the payout to Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shooting victims, the Las Vegas Victim’s Fund would need at least $560 million. The efforts of the contributors are laudable but a favorable outcome in the recently-filed lawsuits could help those uncompensated victims pay outstanding medical bills and catch up financially.

The Salamati Law Firm fights aggressively to ensure injury victims see justice served. To speak with one of our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys, call 1-888-259-4060.

Additional Information about Las Vegas Shooting Lawsuits:

  1. Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Victims’ Fund to stop collecting donations Jan. 31, https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/shootings/las-vegas-victims-fund-to-stop-collecting-donations-jan-31/
  2. ABC7, Stanton sisters who survived Las Vegas shooting say they won’t get help from $11M fund due to proposed rules, http://abc7.com/oc-sisters-who-survived-vegas-shooting-say-they-wont-get-money-from-fund/2710576/
  3. Reuters, Hundreds of Las Vegas shooting victims file lawsuits in California court https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lasvegas-shooting-lawsuit/hundreds-of-las-vegas-shooting-victims-file-lawsuits-in-california-court-idUSKBN1DK2OX
, Read More

Death Toll Rises in the Wake of Las Vegas Mass Shooting

October 2, 2017 News

Police reports say death toll in Sunday’s night’s outdoor concert massacre at the Mandalay Resort Hotel in Las Vegas has

Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Resort
Image by Alicia Yo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikipedia
Police reports say death toll in Sunday’s night’s outdoor concert massacre at the Mandalay Resort Hotel in Las Vegas has risen to 58.  At least 515 people have been reported injured.  The alleged gunman, Stephen Paddock, was found dead in his hotel room after the shooting spree.  The suspect is believed to have checked into the hotel with more than 10 rifles although there have been no reports indicating what types of weapons were found.

At approximately 10 pm, police say that Mr. Paddock opened fire from his 32nd floor hotel room onto the crowd below, spraying a hail of bullets across the 22,000 concertgoers.  Audio recordings that were made at the scene indicate that the gunman had used at least one automatic weapon.   This mass shooting incident is now considered the deadliest in US history.

The Las Vegas Police department has notified the public that blood donations for the injured victims can be given at United Blood Services.  An additional blood drive will be held at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada on Monday.  Citizens are also encouraged to contact their local American Red Cross offices.  For those who are not local to the area, financial donations can be made on the American Red Cross website.

Sean F. Salamati and the entire staff of The Salamati Law Firm are devastated by the tremendous loss of life and the harm inflicted on the families of all those who were killed or injured in this unprecedented event.

Though incidents on this scale shake the entire the world, people are victims of gun violence every day in this country. Whether inflicted intentionally or negligently, victims and the families of victims deserve the best and most experienced legal counsel to uncover what events led to the shooting and how it has since impacted their lives. The emotional impact of surviving gun violence adds another level of sensitivity that also deserves to be explored. It is possible to suffer serious injuries by merely witnessing such an event.

Sean F. Salamati has decades of experience to help families and victims who’ve been shot, uncover who is ultimately liable for the shooting and get compensation for those who deserve it.  For more information, please call us at 213-817-8888.

 

Read More

Pharmaceuticals Litigation Draws Plaintiffs to California

February 15, 2017 News

They have been dubbed “litigation tourists” and according to a 6-year study, they make up about 90 percent of the

They have been dubbed “litigation tourists” and according to a 6-year study, they make up about 90 percent of the plaintiffs in pharmaceuticals litigation in California. These plaintiffs with no California connection are flooding the courts and critics argue that they impede the chances of residents who are looking to have their day in court.

Justice group study identifies flux of “litigation tourists”

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtAccording to a study recently published by the Civil Justice Association of California, most plaintiffs in California cases against pharmaceutical companies are these so-called “litigation tourists”, who do not reside in California – and have no connection to the state – but choose to file here because of a perceived advantage.

The study looked at product liability lawsuits filed against pharmaceutical companies in Los Angeles and San Diego between January 2010 and May 2016. It included more than 2,900 cases which included more than 25,500 plaintiffs.

Not only are individual plaintiffs likely to be non-California residents but more than two-thirds of the pharmaceuticals cases do not have any California residents in the entire group of plaintiffs. In nine out of every ten lawsuits included in the study, the plaintiffs were represented by one of 25 law firms and none of those firms had California residents make up more than one third of their plaintiffs.

Incentives for non-California tort plaintiffs

There are a number of likely contributing factors to the rise in non-resident lawsuits:

  1. California has garnered a nationwide reputation as being plaintiff-friendly
  2. California courts apply a different standard from most other states for admissions of expert witness testimony
  3. The state recognizes what has become known as the “innovator liability theory” which allows a manufacturer of a brand-name drug to be held liable when patients are injured by generic alternatives that were manufactured and sold by third parties
  4. Unlike most other states, California has no cap on punitive damages

Last year’s state supreme court case, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court, decided in August 2016, appears to apply a stamp of approval to the practice. In that case, 86 Californians were joined by nearly 600 non-residents to sue the defendant drug manufacturer over alleged injuries related to a prescription blood thinner. The out-of-state defendant argued that the California court did not have jurisdiction because none of its operations took place in California. But the California Supreme Court permitted the lawsuit because the company had marketed and distributed the product in the state.

Critics point out that using California’s judicial resources for forum-shopping plaintiffs with no ties to the Golden State does not help residents who already face an uphill battle gaining access to the courts due to the state court budget crisis that has been ongoing since 2008.

California personal injury lawyer

A personal injury, including those caused by pharmaceuticals, can leave victims and their families with physical, financial, and emotional damage. Los Angeles attorney personal injury lawyer Sean Salamati understands the impact of these events and can help you determine your best next legal step. Contact the Salamati Law Firm at 888-259-4060 for a free consultation.

Additional Personal Injury Resources

  1. Civil Justice Association of California, Out-of-State Plaintiffs: Are Out-Of-State Plaintiffs clogging California Courts?, http://cjac.org/what/research/CJAC_Out_of_State_Plaintiffs_Exec_Summary.pdf
  2. California Courts, Jurisdiction and Venue: Where to file a case, http://www.courts.ca.gov/9617.htm
  3. Consumer Attorneys of California, Court Funding: California’s court system is bearing a disproportionate share of state’s budget hardship – denying vital services and preventing many Californians from ever having their day in court, https://www.caoc.org/index.cfm?pg=CourtFunding
, Read More

California Rains Cause Surge in LA County Car Crashes

February 14, 2017 News

Unprecedented rains in a historically dry area have triggered flash floods and a massive surge in freeway crashes, reports the

Firefighter and paramedics taking victim out of crashed car

Unprecedented rains in a historically dry area have triggered flash floods and a massive surge in freeway crashes, reports the Los Angeles Times. At the beginning of the rainy period last November, the California Highway Patrol noted a whopping 570 percent increase in traffic accidents throughout Los Angeles County, as motorists struggled with slick roads, poor visibility and hazardous conditions. According to reports, heavy storms inundated San Luis Obispo County with more than two inches of rain, and Brentwood’s Getty Center didn’t fare much better with more than an inch of water. The sudden uptick in motor vehicle crashes created havoc and gridlock along several highly-trafficked freeways in Southern California.

The spike in freeway crashes, some of which involved multiple vehicles and large trucks, left many motorists with serious injuries requiring hospitalization and medical treatment. Unfortunately, weather-related traffic accidents in California are not uncommon, says personal injury attorney Sean Salamati, who represents victims in the greater Los Angeles area. Salamati has vast experience handling personal injury car accident claims involving commercial vehicles and passenger cars.

Liability issues in bad weather accidents

Treacherous road conditions, whether caused by rain, ice or fallen debris, can lead to dangerous situations for anyone behind the wheel. In car accidents caused by bad weather, who, if anyone, is legally responsible for damages?

In California, liability for any type of auto accident comes down to negligence. Was the driver exercising reasonable care given the current weather conditions at the time of the crash? A light shower might only call for a slight reduction in speed, whereas a heavy downpour would require a reasonable driver to turn on their headlights, slow down considerably and accommodate for longer stopping distances, in case of sudden breaking.

Snow, rain, fog, ice and sleet can reduce tire traction, visibility and brake performance. When motorists are driving in bad weather conditions, they should take extra care and adjust their speed accordingly. Those who fail to do so and are involved in a collision may have a difficult time seeking appropriate compensation for property damage, medical bills and other related losses.

If you are injured because another motorist failed to drive safely in bad weather, or was driving too fast for conditions, the Salamati Law Firm is here to help.

Protect your rights to compensation

As a veteran California injury attorney who specializes in car accident claims, Sean Salamati leverages the resources and experience to build a strong case that documents all injuries, pain and suffering, and economic losses. His legal team can uncover whether hazardous road debris, careless driving, alcohol impairment, or other factors contributed to the crash.

Working with a trusted personal injury lawyer with proven case results can make a major difference in your ability to successfully file a claim and recover fair monetary compensation for your losses.

To set up a free, no-obligation case evaluation at our Los Angeles office, we invite you to call 888-259-4060. 

More “car accidents caused by rain” resources:

  1. LA Times, Rain triggers 570% surge in Los Angeles County freeway crashes http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-rain-weather-socal-20161121-story.html
  2. LA Times, Drenched: How L.A. went from bone-dry to 216% of normal rainfall in four months, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-rain-record-la-20170123-story.html
Read More

Los Angeles Man Killed Following Altercation in Bar

December 23, 2016 News

In the early morning hours of December 16, a Los Angeles man was struck and killed by a car following

Paramedics with man on stretcher in ambulance, low angle viewIn the early morning hours of December 16, a Los Angeles man was struck and killed by a car following an altercation in a North Hollywood bar. The victim, whose name was not immediately released by police, evidently had been drinking in the bar and fought with the bouncer shortly before closing.

He and the bouncer, Ernest Reyes, struggled until he fell in the street. At that point, the victim was struck by a car which accelerated and left the scene without stopping.
The car was described in the Los Angeles Times as a “dark-colored vehicle with dark-tinted windows.”

Police arrested Reyes, who is 34, on suspicion of murder. His bail was set at $2 million. The Times noted that the sequence of events was unclear, including whether Reyes shoved the man into the street. Police are currently investigating. They are also exploring whether security cameras can yield a picture of the car and driver who struck the victim.

Multiple legal claims possible

While law enforcement is still investigating and fault cannot yet be assigned, the incident illustrates several points of California law regarding vehicle accidents, pedestrian responsibility, and personal injury.

Negligence laws in California apply to both vehicles and pedestrians. A car that strikes a pedestrian is not always at fault. Hypothetically, if a pedestrian darts into a street directly before a car, a jury could find the pedestrian 100% at fault. If, however, a pedestrian is jay-walking and a car is going too fast to stop, a jury might find that the driver bears the preponderance of blame. Under state law, a jury could find the driver 75% negligent and the pedestrian 25%. Any damages awarded would be split accordingly.

Second, there is the issue of driver behavior. News reports indicate that the victim was killed by a hit-and-run accident. A hit-and-run is an accident in which the driver of a vehicle that has struck someone does not stop. Under California law, drivers who strike someone, whether they are injured, killed, or unharmed, must stop. It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident. If someone was killed in the accident, leaving it is a felony offense.

If the driver is found, the victim’s family in this case could bring civil charges under California hit-and-run law.

Third, the incident raises the issue of personal injury law. Under California personal injury statutes, someone can be responsible for personal injury if they carelessly caused personal injury or death. Careless means that a person knew or should have known a situation was dangerous but did not take proper care to prevent it.

While we do not know the circumstances until the police investigations are complete, a party who pushes another party into the path of an oncoming vehicle could be found to have caused personal injury. However, if the victim stumbled rather than was propelled into the roadway, or did not notice an oncoming vehicle due to inebriation, a jury might find that the victim was partly or even entirely responsible. Because the victim was hit by a car, the driver of the car may also bear a large responsibility.

In this particular case, the accident resulted in death. The families and loved ones of the deceased can bring suits in cases of car accidents, pedestrian accidents, and personal injury.

Have you lost a family member in a hit and run or other traffic incident?

The Salamati Law Firm specializes in vehicle and pedestrian accidents and personal injury cases. If you or your family face any of the situations above, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case. We have years of experience fighting for the rights of people like you.

, Read More

Nominees for “10 Worst Toys in 2016” Released

December 9, 2016 News

Toy stores are beefing up inventories with the latest products and gadgets as holiday shopping is in full swing. Once

Toy stores are beefing up inventories with the latest products and gadgets as holiday shopping is in full swing. Once again, the consumer advocacy group World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has published its nominees for the “10 Worst Toys” of 2016 in the hopes of keeping dangerous toys out of the hands of small children. The organization releases such a list every year in an effort to prevent needless toy-related injuries, which cause more than 250,000 emergency room visits annually.

W.A.T.C.H. is urging both parents and caregivers to take caution when buying toys for their children this holiday season, as many are sold without adequate warnings about choking, suffocation and injury hazards. Dozens of the recalled toys in recent years were found to have design or manufacturing defects, or were put on the marketplace without sufficient testing.

Safety advocates say that between 2010 and 2014, an estimated 61 American children died because of toy-related injuries. Their 2016 “10 Worst Toys” nominees spotlight some of the many hazards posed to children.

10 Most Hazardous Toys for 2016

According to the W.A.T.C.H. report, the following ten products have inadequate warnings and may be extremely dangerous for children.

  1. Banzai Bump and Bounce Body Bumpers – Manufactured by ToyQuest, these inflatable suits worn by children allow kids to bounce off one another. However, there is no protective equipment included and this toy has a potential for impact injuries
  2. Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow – Sold on Amazon, this plush stuffed animal comes with no warnings about the suffocation risks for infants.
  3. Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family – These cute figurines are marketed for children ages 2 and 3 or older, but without warnings about small plastic parts that pose choking hazards for this age group
  4. Slimeball Slinger – Much like a slingshot, the Slimeball Slinger lets kids launch projectiles more than 30 feet, but the toy has the potential to cause severe eye injuries
  5. Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster – Nerf ammunition may be soft, but it can still result in serious eye injuries. The package includes photos of children wearing safety masks, though no protective gear is included.
  6. Flying Heroes Superman Launcher – A winged superhero figurine sold at major retail outlets, this product has the potential for face and eye injuries when used by small children
  7. Peppy Pups – This playpen toy, sold at ToysR US, is sold with a 31-inch long cord, posing strangulation risks to children aged 3 and younger.
  8. The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch – Marketed to children 3 or older, this T-Rex toy has a sharp plastic tail that can cause significant puncture wound injuries.
  9. Warcraft Doomhammer – Blunt impact injuries are a potential danger when children play with this heavy weight plastic hammer
  10. Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby – Two-year olds are encouraged to spoon feed this interactive baby doll, but the spoon is small enough that it could block a child’s airway if used improperly

Los Angeles toy defect lawyers

The W.A.T.C.H. report, though helpful, is far from an exhaustive list of all toys that pose dangers for choking, strangulation, puncture wounds or impact injuries. If your child is hurt by a toy that is unsafe for its intended purpose, came without adequate warnings, or was defective in some manner, you may have grounds for legal action.

To learn more about filing a product liability lawsuit in Los Angeles, we encourage you to call The Salamati Law Firm for a free, no-obligation case review. Our veteran personal injury attorneys stand prepared to fight for maximum compensation. Call our offices today at 888-259-4060.

Resources

  1. ToySafety.org, 2016 “10 Worst Toy” List http://toysafety.org/toy-safety/2016-10-worst-toy-list/
  2. ToySafety.org, 2016, Nominee List http://toysafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/WATCH-2016-Press-Release-With-Nominees.pdf
Read More

Traffic Deaths on Rise in 2016, New Report Finds

November 8, 2016 News

Traffic deaths saw a sharp uptick during the first half of 2016, according to data collected by federal traffic authorities.

The car which moved down in a ditch as a result of accident. The turned car.

Traffic deaths saw a sharp uptick during the first half of 2016, according to data collected by federal traffic authorities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has discovered a 10-percent increase in traffic deaths between 2015 and 2016, marking the largest jump in traffic fatalities in the past 50 years. The increase in fatalities has been seen among pedestrians and bicyclists as well as motorists, according to the latest numbers.

The new data, which was released in the October issue of Traffic Safety Facts, estimated that nearly 18,000 people, or 1.12 for every million people in the U.S., died in motor vehicle accidents from January to June this year. That compares to the same time frame in 2015, when almost 16,000 people, or 1.05 for every million people, lost their lives. The years both show increases in deaths over previous years, including the first six months of 2011 when an estimated 15,000 people died.

The researchers noted that the last seven calendar quarters have seen increases in traffic fatalities when compared with the corresponding quarter for the previous year. There appears to be a number of factors that might be contributing to this alarming trend, although researchers warn that those factors may become more apparent when final numbers are available in late fall of 2017. In the meantime, highway officials are examining some early clues into what might be driving this unfortunate trend.

Factors at play

The National Safety Commission has noted that the improving economy, which has led to higher employment rates and cheaper gasoline, may be one of the factors contributing to the higher mortality rates on the nation’s roadways. When the economy is slow, fewer people tend to be out and about going to work and other obligations. When the economy picks up, so do the miles logged on the nation’s highways.

The Federal Highway Administration has linked the increase in fatalities to an increase in miles traveled. During the first six months of 2016, the number of vehicles traveling on U.S. roadways increased by 50.5 billion miles, which is a 3.3 percent increase in miles traveled since the previous year.

Other factors that routinely contribute to increases in traffic fatalities include driving under the influence, distracted driving and speeding. At this time, it is too early to know exactly how much of a role these common factors may have played in the latest numbers.  However, that information should be available later next year, which will help officials determine whether further steps might need to be taken to reduce these risks.

Bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities

Researchers also noted that a rise in fatalities among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists could have contributed to the increase in traffic-related fatalities – at least during 2015. During this year alone, there was a 12.2 percent increase in bicycle accident fatalities and a 9.5 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities. Walking and biking to work have become increasingly popular modes of transportation as one million more people have been walking to work since 2005.

While people may opt to walk or bike to work for health reasons, the danger of such activity also needs to be noted. Many cities do not have designated lanes for walkers or bikers, which can bring them much closer to the street action than what is considered safe. These additional lanes can be expensive for cities, which is why many do not offer them. However, studies have shown that designated lanes can lower the incidence of pedestrian death and serious injury.

If you have been injured in an motor vehicle accident in Los Angeles, The Salamati Law Firm is here to help. Our car accident lawyers help navigate the complex legal system to ensure your rights are protected and just compensation is obtained. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling 888-259-4060.

Resources:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (Jan-June) of 2016, https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812332

KQED, With Rising Number of Highway Deaths, California Bucks National Trend, https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2015/11/24/with-rising-number-of-highway-deaths-california-bucks-national-trend/

, , Read More

Lawsuits Filed After Deadly Tour Bus Crash

November 1, 2016 News

Lawsuits have been filed by the families of two of the victims who died in a tour bus crash outside of

Lawsuits have been filed by the families of two of the victims who died in a tour bus crash outside of Palm Springs, California on October 23. The lawsuits were filed against the bus company and its owner and driver the night of the accident. The driver was also killed in the crash, so the lawsuits are seeking damages from the deceased driver’s estate.

Family members of Gustavo Garcia, 63, and Tony Mia, 50, said the driver of the bus, 59-year-old Teodulo Elias Vides, was negligent and reckless, making him legally responsible for the accident. Specifically, the lawsuits cite failure to travel at a safe speed, failure to reduce speed at a construction zone and failure to keep a proper lookout and apply the brakes when necessary. The lawyers of the plaintiffs also list Vides’ failure to properly maintain the bus and operating a bus that was not equipped with seatbelts or other restraint systems.

Crash occurred in early morning hours

The bus was traveling back to the Los Angeles area from the Red Earth Casino at Salton City at around 5:15 a.m. when it slammed into the back of a tractor trailer on Interstate 10. Traffic in the area had slowed significantly at the time of the accident, due to roadwork. The big rig was traveling at about five miles per hour when the bus crashed into its back end. Investigators have told local media the bus must have been traveling much faster than the truck at the time of impact, due to the considerable damage the front of the bus suffered.

In addition, investigators noted there were no skid marks to indicate the brakes were ever applied on the bus prior to the collision. The only skid marks in the road after the accident were those of the truck as it was pushed forward from the accident. The investigation has also revealed that four of the eight tires on the bus were worn to the point the vehicle should have been put out of commission.

Investigation by NTSB ongoing

The investigation is continuing as the National Transportation Safety Board continues to collect clues as to what might have caused the deadly accident. Some of the factors they will consider include the driving records of both drivers involved in the crash, including their accident history and level of training for operating the vehicles they were driving.

Most of the passengers were asleep on the bus when the collision occurred. The 13 that were killed were all sitting close to the front of the bus, where the most significant damage occurred. Another 31 passengers were injured during the accidents, some of them severely.

The wrongful death lawsuits filed this week are the first involving this particular crash. A report from KPCC found that Vides was only carrying $5 million in insurance for his bus, which will not offer much compensation for the families of the 13 killed as well as the other 31 that suffered injuries. The $5 million is the legal limit for buses of this size – a limit that has not changed since the 1980s.

As the investigation into the cause of the crash continues, it remains to be seen whether other accident victims will seek legal reparations. Car accident attorney Sean F. Salamati offers legal guidance to those who were injured in motor vehicle accidents. To make an appointment for a free consultation, please call 888-259-4060

Resources:

  1. CNN, Police: “No Appearance of Braking” in Deadly Bus Crash, http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/23/us/california-bus-accident/
  2. SCPR, Bus Crash Victims to get Little Compensation, http://www.scpr.org/news/2016/10/31/65827/bus-crash-victims-likely-to-get-little-compensatio/
  3. Las Vegas Review Journal, Casino Bus Crashes in U.S. Attracting More Safety Scrutiny, http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nation-and-world/casino-bus-crashes-us-attracting-more-safety-scrutiny
, Read More

Tour Bus Crash Leaves 13 Dead and 31 Injured on 10 Freeway

October 25, 2016 News

Thirteen people were killed and 31 injured on October 23 when a tour bus hit the back of a large

Firefighter and paramedics taking victim out of crashed car

Thirteen people were killed and 31 injured on October 23 when a tour bus hit the back of a large truck near Palm Springs. The bus originated in Los Angeles, and it is believed that most of the passengers were from the Los Angeles area.

The crash is one of the deadliest in California since a 1963 accident near Chualar. That collision, involving a flatbed truck transporting Mexican farm workers and a freight train, killed 32 people.

The accident occurred on the 10 Freeway in Desert Hot Springs during the predawn hours. Most of the passengers were asleep. They had been at a casino near Thermal, close to the Salton Sea.

The bus in which the victims were riding hit the rear end of the truck’s trailer, nearly destroying the front of the bus and severely impacting the first third of it. The Los Angeles Times noted that most of the fatalities were sitting near the front of the bus.

Given the damage to the bus, authorities noted that it might have been going much faster than the truck. However, officials noted that an investigation is pending and it is not known whether the bus driver was going over the speed limit.

Early indications were that the driver died in the crash. Although California Highway Patrol (CHP) authorities have not identified the driver, neighbors in Alhambra gave his name as Elias Vides.

The damaged vehicle was a USA Holiday tour bus. It did not have seat belts. USA Holiday is based in Alhambra and owns a single bus and has one driver.

CHP Border Division Chief Jim Abele said, “In almost 35 years, I’ve never been to a crash where there’s been 13 confirmed fatals. It’s tough … you never get used to this.”

Injured taken to nearby hospitals

Five of the injured were in critical condition.

Because of the lack of seat belts, some of the injured received facial injuries with soft tissue and bone injury involvement. Some may need plastic surgery as a result of their injuries, according to Dr. Ricard Townsend at Desert Regional Medical Center, where some of the injured were taken.

Other passengers were brought to area hospitals with noncritical injuries, including cuts, abrasions, and neck pain.

Many of the victims were Spanish-speaking. Local hospitals brought in healthcare personnel who spoke Spanish to help in the patients’ care.

Federal investigation begins

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were slated to arrive in the area on Monday to help with the ongoing investigation. They will look at causal factors, including whether the early morning hours meant the driver feel asleep, whether he was under the influence of substances, or had a medical emergency such as a heart attack. They also explore the possibility of mechanical problems with the bus.

Officials indicated they hope to find a data recorder to determine the bus’s speed and driver actions before the crash, such as braking. However, since the bus is 20 years old, they cautioned that it may not have had a data recorder on board.

Personal injury law firm serving Los Angeles

The Salamati Law Firm continues to follow investigations into the cause of this fatal accident, and our car accident attorneys extend their sincere condolences to those who were harmed or lost a loved one. To learn more about our legal services or to request a free consultation with a member of our firm, please call our Los Angeles office at 888-259-4060.

LA Times, 13 dead, 31 others injured in tour bus crash near Palm Springs http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-tour-bus-20161023-snap-story.html
, Read More