Posts tagged wrongful death

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.

overturned 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/

 

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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
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Coalition Vows to Eliminate Traffic Deaths Within 30 Years

October 26, 2016 Auto Accidents

In early October, four government agencies overseeing transportation in the U.S. announced a plan with the goal of reducing traffic

traffic

In early October, four government agencies overseeing transportation in the U.S. announced a plan with the goal of reducing traffic deaths to zero within 30 years.

The plan, called the Road to Zero Coalition initiative, was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The NHTSA is joined by the Federal Highway Administration (NHWA), the National Safety Council (NSC), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). All these agencies will be working together.

The initiatives address the multiple causes of traffic fatalities and plan to use targeted plans, education, innovative technology, and funding to reach the 30-year goal.

Because traffic deaths stem from multiple factors, including driver actions and roadway conditions, the near-term goals focus on increasing the safety of drivers and roadways.

To those ends, the inaugural efforts will 1) promote use of seat belts, a proven method of reducing fatalities, through specific enforcement; 2) put rumble strips in areas that are known to be hazardous sites of veering off; 3) enhance safety of commercial vehicles to reduce truck accidents; and 4) initiate educational campaigns to promote safe driving.

Longer term, the campaign will target the use of innovative technology, such as vehicles with self-driving capability, improved infrastructure and roadway design, safety behaviors, and enforcement of speed limits. The coalition hopes that technology developed for self-driving cars can be incorporated into all vehicles to reduce human error.

Initiative reponds to spike in traffic fatalities

The consortium plans to generously fund organizations that create programs that save lives as part of the Road to Zero initiatives. It will be sponsoring $1 million in grant money every year over the next three years.

The programs will also target the risks that are the root cause of many highway vehicle accidents. The program plans to research new evidence-based strategies and systematic approaches that will make the risks a thing of the past.

The news of the formation of Road to Zero occurred shortly after the NHTSA had announced the first half 2016 statistics on traffic fatalities. Fatal traffic accidents occurred 10.4% more frequently in the period than in the first half of 2015. Last year’s first half, it should be noted, also saw a year-over-year increase, and registered the highest number of traffic deaths since 1996.

Deborah A.P. Hersman, the president and CEO of the NSC, observed that “The ‘4Es’ – Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Emergency Medical Services – provide a reliable roadmap for driving down fatalities. Coupled with new technologies and innovative approaches to mobility, we may now hold the keys that get us to zero.”

Trusted accident attorney in Los Angeles

The Zero in Thirty plans are admirable and future successes would be applauded. But for right now, the initiative offers little comfort for victims of reckless drivers

If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a vehicle accident, Los Angeles car accident lawyer Sean F. Salamati offers skilled legal advice on your rights to compensation. Contact our office toll-free to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

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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
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Study Finds Pokemon Go a Dangerous Distraction

October 4, 2016 News

Pokemon Go, the popular augmented reality game, has proven itself to be one of the most played apps of all

Using a phone while driving a car

Pokemon Go, the popular augmented reality game, has proven itself to be one of the most played apps of all time since its introduction this past summer. Unfortunately, not all the news regarding the app has been positive, however. The game has recently been linked to a slew of car and pedestrian accidents, indicating the distraction of the game might be too much for some players trying to “catch ‘em all.”

Researchers have actually taken a closer look at the potential danger surrounding Pokemon Go. Scientists from San Diego State University studied the effects of the app on car crashes around the country. They specifically looked at the association between July 10 and July 19, when the game was first introduced to the general public.

Study uses news, social media reports

The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in September, used social media and news reports to collect data involving both motorists and pedestrians that were distracted by the game. Researchers found a total of 350,000 tweets that referred to both “Pokemon Go” and “driving a car.” A random sample of 4,000 of those tweets indicated the person playing the game was driving a vehicle, a passenger in a vehicle or a pedestrian interacting with traffic at the time of play.

Approximately one-third of those tweets suggested the player was distracted by the game. Although some of the tweets were perceived as jokes, researchers determined that around 114,000 traffic incidents were reported on Twitter within that 10-day time frame. Researchers also scanned Google News reports during that same time and found 321 stories referring to car crashes involving Pokemon Go.

“Pokemon Go is a new distraction for drivers and pedestrians, and safety messages are scarce,” researchers concluded. They are hoping their findings will motivate policy makers and game developers to take steps to make this game, and others like it, safer for play. For example, game manufacturers could make the game inaccessible once a certain driving speed is reached. Currently, Pokemon Go asks players if they are a driver or passenger when the vehicle moves faster than 10 miles per hour. The game also displays numerous warnings when the app is first launched.

Distracted driving a major concern

At a time when concerns have been on the rise over the potential risk of distracted driving, games like Pokemon Go are just one more factor to consider. Victims of distracted driving accidents may see their lives change in a matter of seconds, as they are sometimes left to deal with debilitating injuries or even the loss of a loved one as a result of these crashes.

When a driver is found to be at fault in an accident due to distracted driving, whether from texting, talking on a phone or playing a game, they can be held liable for the victim’s injuries and other losses. However, it takes experienced legal guidance to prove the driver was distracted and pursue maximum monetary damages.

If you or someone you love was injured in a traffic accident due to Pokemon Go or another distraction, help is available. Contact Los Angeles car accident attorneys at The Salamati Law Firm for a free case review and answers to all of your legal questions. Contact us 24/7 at at 888-259-4060.

Resources:

JAMA Internal Medicine, Pokemon Go: A New Distraction for Drivers and Pedestrians, http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2553331

FOX News, Death by Pokemon? Public Safety Fears Mount as Pokemon Go Craze Continues, http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2016/07/14/death-by-pokemon-public-safety-fears-mount-as-pokemon-go-craze-continues.html

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Disturbing Increase in Traffic Deaths Reported

September 27, 2016 News

According to preliminary studies conducted by the National Safety Council, deaths in traffic accidents were up nine percent during the

Traffic fatality

According to preliminary studies conducted by the National Safety Council, deaths in traffic accidents were up nine percent during the first half of 2016 compared to the same six month period in 2015. Unfortunately, this is consistent with a surge in auto accident fatalities which began two years ago.

According to the research, between January and June this year, somewhere in the vicinity of 19,000 people died in the U.S. in auto accidents. This is a noticeable 18 percent more than two years earlier during the same time period. During the recorded 2016 six month period, almost 2.2 million people suffered serious injury.

The Salamati Law Firm finds these numbers unsettling. If this continues, there could be over 40,000 fatalities by the end of September. There were over 35,000 deaths as a result of auto accidents in all of 2015 and it is considered the most dangerous year for driving since 2008, when over 37,000 died on the road. Sadly, this year is well on its way to “besting” those numbers.

More drivers on the road in 2016

It is believed the more stable the economy and the more affordable gas is, the more people will drive and travel, increasing the possibility of accidents. The Federal Highway Administration says there was a 3.3 percent increase in driving in the first half of 2016 compared to 2015. In fact, drivers set a record 1.58 trillion miles on the road. Average gas prices between January and June were 16 percent lower than the same period in 2015. Historically, fatality numbers tend to dip during economic strife like recessions, oil embargoes and, most recently, during the subprime mortgage crisis in 2007.

Of course, we can attach all the data and trends we want. It does not change the fact that somewhere and someplace in Los Angeles, another family will lose a loved one in an auto accident due to another driver’s mistake. Running a red light, getting behind the wheel under the influence, speeding, texting or falling asleep at the wheel, are all hazards and have left families with immeasurable grief.

Speak with a traffic death attorney Los Angeles trusts

The Salamati Law Firm has met far too many families that regretted not getting in touch with a lawyer sooner rather than later. Insurance companies and lawyers for the other side will play sympathetic and understanding, but their job is to protect their interests. Only your lawyer will ensure that the responsible parties will face the music to the full extent of the law and that all damages will be taken into account and factored into the compensation your family deserves.

If you have lost a loved one in auto accident as the result of someone’s negligence, give the Salamati Law Firm a call and find out what can be done to hold the responsible accountable. All case reviews are confidential and free of charge.

Resources:

  1. PBS, Traffic deaths up nearly 20 percent since 2014, government says, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/traffic-deaths-injuries-cost-205-billion-far-2016/
  2. NPR, Traffic Deaths In 2015 Climb By Largest Increase In Decades, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/08/29/491854557/traffic-deaths-climb-by-largest-increase-in-decades
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Is Tesla Liable for Autopilot Crashes?

July 12, 2016 Auto Accidents

On May 7, 2016, 40-year-old Joshua Brown and the car he had christened “Tessy” were traveling on a Florida highway

Tesla Motors Store Selling Electric Cars III

On May 7, 2016, 40-year-old Joshua Brown and the car he had christened “Tessy” were traveling on a Florida highway when a big rig made a left-hand turn in front of the car. Tessy “went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him,” said the truck driver afterward. The car and Brown came to rest about a quarter of a mile down the road when they struck a telephone pole. Media reports later indicated that Brown, a former Navy SEAL and technology consultant, believed in the ability of the autopilot so much that he had brought a portable DVD player into the car with him and was watching a “Harry Potter” movie at the time of the crash.

Brown’s family is grieving their loss, yet is expected to explore the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against Tesla when the federal inquiry is completed. Through a family spokesperson, the surviving relatives have said that they hope the accident “will trigger further innovation which enhances the safety of everyone on the roadways.”

Should hands-off drivers be held liable?

The key question at the heart of this accident is whether Tesla or the drivers should be held liable for accidents that occur when cars are being “driven” on autopilot. Tesla has vigorously denied liability, stating that the automated technology for braking, lane changing, and steering doesn’t shift liability from the driver to the car company. Other experts have weighed in on the case, suggesting that Tesla might be held liable if it can be determined that the company failed to conduct adequate testing on the system. Reportedly, Brown lost his life because the autopilot system failed to detect the white rig against the bright sky.

Yet, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, has insisted that “The onus is on the pilot to make sure the autopilot is doing the right thing,” and that the autopilot mode is a voluntary feature.

Rosemary Shahan, president of the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety lobbying group, vehemently disagrees. She states, “On the one hand, they’re saying trust us, we can drive better than you would, but on the other hand, they are saying if something goes wrong, don’t ask us to stand behind our product. But if it’s controlled by an algorithm, why should you be liable?”

Exercising your legal rights after a crash

Whether an auto accident in Los Angeles was caused by a Tesla malfunction or otherwise, it’s imperative to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Deadlines do apply to filing a claim; if you fail to take action within this period of time, you can forfeit your right to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The Salamati Law Firm has provided effective and compassionate legal advocacy services to Los Angeles residents for 20 years. We’ve recovered million dollar-plus settlements and verdicts for our clients and we work on a contingency basis, which means we never charge a legal fee unless we secure compensation for you. Call our office today at 888-259-4060 for more information. Our personal injury lawyers would like to extend an invitation to car and truck accident survivors to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

Resources:

  1. Los Angeles Times, Tesla’s ‘autopilot mode’ puts it at risk for liability in crashes, http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-tesla-liabilty-20160705-snap-story.html
  2. Slate, The Tesla Autopilot Crash Victim Was Apparently Watching a Movie When He Died, http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/07/01/tesla_autopilot_crash_victim_joshua_brown_was_watching_a_movie_when_he_died.html
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Deadly Big Rig Hit and Run Accident Driver On the Run

May 20, 2016 News

Fleeing the scene of a crash is illegal in California, but unfortunately, that doesn’t stop negligent drivers from doing it

18 Wheel Truck on the road during the day. Side view.

Fleeing the scene of a crash is illegal in California, but unfortunately, that doesn’t stop negligent drivers from doing it anyway. Usually, hit and run drivers are operators of passenger vehicles, but one big rig driver recently attempted to flee legal repercussions by unhitching the trailer and taking off in the cab. The 18-wheeler crushed a pickup truck in Vernon, CA on April 30, 2016. The crash happened during the early morning hours. The trucker has yet to be identified, but the Vernon Police Department has identified a person of interest whom they believe may have vital information pertaining to the crash.

Person of interest identified

The person of interest has been identified as Guillermo Ortiz Jr. He has been described as a Latino male who is in his 20s. He has not been identified as the truck driver. “He’s got information that we believe will be helpful with our investigation at this point, so we’re asking that he come forward and contact us,” said Detective Sgt. Brandon Gray of the Vernon Police Department. Gray went on to note that Ortiz is believed to be from out of state.

Pickup truck victims

Before the fatal crash occurred, the driver of the big rig is believed to have been involved in another hit and run crash. Police say that the trucker was involved in a minor crash in the area of Soto and 37th Street. Upon allegedly fleeing the scene of that crash, the trucker allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of 37th Street and Santa Fe Avenue. At that point, the big rig allegedly struck a Chevrolet pickup truck. The passenger was identified as 28-year-old Armando Murillo, a resident of Pacoima. Murillo was pronounced dead at the scene. Vernon firefighters had to use power tools to free the trapped driver of the pickup truck, which was flattened underneath the big rig. The driver, who has not been identified, was transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries and is expected to survive.

Establishing liability in truck accident cases

In the event that the victims or family members of the victims of a truck accident decide to consult a lawyer about the crash, one of the first steps the lawyer will take is to try to establish liability. Liability simply means that a party is held responsible for the damages. In truck accident cases, driver error, including driver fatigue, is most often to blame for the crash. In cases that involve a hit and run, the truck driver is likely to face criminal charges, perhaps in addition to a civil lawsuit.

However, a truck accident lawsuit can identify more than one defendant. A personal injury lawyer might name the trucking company as a defendant, perhaps for failing to properly screen its employees or contractors and failing to implement sufficient training protocols.

For effective, compassionate legal advocacy services you can count on, turn to the personal injury attorneys at the Salamati Firm. Our lawyers offer complimentary, no-obligation case reviews to victims of truck accidents and other types of motor vehicle accidents. Families in the greater Los Angeles area can call 888-259-4060 to claim a free consultation.

Resources:

  1. CBS News, Big-rig driver flees after deadly pickup truck crash, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/big-rig-driver-flees-after-deadly-pickup-truck-crash/
  2. KTLA 5, ‘Person of Interest’ Sought After Vernon Hit-and-Run Leaves 1 Dead, 1 Injured: Police, http://ktla.com/2016/04/30/1-dead-1-injured-in-vernon-hit-and-run-driver-sought-after-unhooking-semitrailer-police/
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Hit and Run Crash in South Gate Kills Two

April 14, 2016 News

A teenage girl and a 55-year-old man were identified as the two victims killed in a hit-and-run crash in South

Firefighter and paramedics taking victim out of crashed car

A teenage girl and a 55-year-old man were identified as the two victims killed in a hit-and-run crash in South Gate that left at least five others with serious injuries, confirms the Los Angeles County coroner’s office. Officials say that three of those harmed were listed in critical condition.

Police were alerted to the accident on Garfield Avenue, close to El Paseo Street, on March 26 around 4:30 p.m. The deceased – later identified as Angie Ruiz and Lester Larios of Bell — and the injured were riding in a Mitsubishi which was making a left turn on South Garfield Avenue into the Shopping Center. Both Ruiz and Larios were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the LA County Fire Department, while the injured were transported to an area hospital.

Vehicle T-boned by Mercedes

The accident happened when the Mitsubishi Galant was turning into the Town Center Plaza shopping plaza, and was T-boned by a beige Mercedes-Benz. Aaron Ponce who witnessed the horrific scene told police that the driver of the Mercedes was “was driving fast.” Police report that the driver of the Galant and a passenger fled the scene, but authorities were able to locate the passenger.

While excessive speed was the likely culprit in the collision, the South Gate Police Department reports that the two-vehicle accident is still under investigation. Police are hoping to locate some video footage of the crash to help piece together the sequence of events.

Authorities are currently looking for Bryan Rojas, 22, in connection with the fatal hit and run. Rojas, who is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and Hispanic, is the suspected driver in the crash. He suffered a forehead injury in the accident and was last seen with a visible mark on his head. South Gate authorities are asking anyone who witnessed the accident or has information to please contact the police.

Liability issues in hit and run accidents

There are two kinds of hit and run offenses in California — misdemeanor and felony. Drivers may face charges of a misdemeanor hit and run under the following circumstances:

  • They leave the scene of the crash
  • Property damage resulted from the accident
  • They left the accident without providing identifying information to all involved parties

A felony hit and run is centered upon personal injury rather than property damage. Motorists may face felony charges if the hit and run accident caused another person to suffer serious injury or death. A criminal conviction may also serve as additional evidence in a civil claim, in which the plaintiffs may sue to recover for past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of consortium, emotional distress, and other specific damages in the event of a death.

In some hit and run accidents, the driver flees the scene because of pending legal charges, intoxication, or lack of insurance or a driver’s license. Regardless of the cause, these types of crashes call for extensive knowledge of laws pertaining to uninsured and underinsured motorists in California.

At The Salamati Law Firm, our legal team specializes in personal injury law and achieving maximum recovery in car accident claims. Protect your rights in the wake of a hit and run by enlisting a Los Angeles car accident attorney who gets results every time. Schedule a free consultation with Sean F. Salamati by calling 888-259-4060. We don’t collect a dime unless we secure compensation for your personal injury claim.

Resources:

  1. LosAngelesCBSLocal, 2 Dead, 3 Critically Injured In 2-Vehicle Crash, Hit-And-Run In South Gate http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2016/03/26/2-dead-5-injured-in-2-vehicle-crash-in-south-gate/
  2. LA Times, 15-year-old girl one of two victims named in South Gate hit-and-run, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-15-year-old-hit-and-run-20160327-story.html
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Can New Road Safety Measures Stop Rising Crash Death Toll?

March 15, 2016 Auto Accidents

Statistics indicate that fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents are rising across the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

iStock_000022567058_roadside death crossStatistics indicate that fatalities resulting from motor vehicle accidents are rising across the nation. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is constantly exploring methods of reducing crash rates and improving transportation safety. The NHTSA recently concluded a series of regional workshops designed to promote “evidence-based” behavioral changes in traffic safety settings.

The summits included a diverse set of participants including advocacy groups, public health and safety experts, academic leaders, traffic safety personnel from state government, and other federal organizations.

The primary workshop goals included:

  • Discussing untested strategies and identifying long-term solutions to eliminate traffic fatalities
  • Exploring how evidence-based behavior change approaches can be implemented in broader policy discussions
  • Analyzing different approaches to changing driving behaviors

U.S. traffic deaths increasing

NHTSA officials see a number of red flags across the country and say now is the time to push “behavioral changes in traffic safety.” In addition to launching new initiatives, NHTSA administrators want to deal with persistent problems that claim thousands of lives every year. On their list of topics were fatigued and distracted driving, drunk driving and a failure to wear seat belts or use child safety seats, as well as pedestrian and cyclist safety.

The agency reports that traffic deaths in the United States are up almost 10 percent after years of steady decline. Between January and September of 2015, an estimated 26,000 individuals died in vehicle accidents. While each state had varying rates of traffic accident deaths, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Washington and Montana saw the biggest jump in fatalities at 20 percent.

The 2016 summits featured five separate workshops, and concluded at the U.S. DOT headquarters in Washington D.C. last March. Transportation officials remain hopeful that the collaborative efforts will lead to productive changes and improvements in transportation safety.

Negligent driving and legal recourse

Nearly 95 percent of all traffic accidents are caused by human errors, according to government data. When driving behavior is deemed negligent or reckless, victims may have the right to sue for monetary compensation. A car accident lawsuit in California can recover damages for:

  • Lost income
  • All related medical expenses
  • Reduced capacity to earn
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress
  • Plus other losses

California has strict laws that ban texting and all cell phone use while driving; drivers who ignore these rules and cause injury or death can be held accountable in court. If a car or truck accident is caused by a driver who is impaired by lack of sleep or drug/alcohol abuse, the victim may also be eligible for legal relief that can help offset the financial burdens of serious personal injury and extended time off of work. More catastrophic accidents that claim lives may warrant a wrongful death claim, which can be brought by surviving family members.

Car accident claims are not always cut and dry when it comes to liability issues, and insurance companies are only looking out for their own bottom line. The smartest way to ensure your rights are protected is allying with an experienced law firm with a proven track record of success.

The Salamati Law Firm offers effective personal injury representation in Los Angeles and throughout southern California. For a free, no-obligation case review, please call 888-259-4060.

Resources:

  1. NHTSA, Driving Behavioral Change in Traffic Safety http://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/symposiums/march2016/index.html
  2. The Sacramento Bee, Traffic deaths climbing in California – Is there a fix? http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article36766929.html
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