A pair of unrelated traffic accidents in Santa Ana on Monday evening left one man dead and a 13-year-old girl on a bicycle seriously injured. The first incident was reported at about 7:00 p.m., when a van traveling eastbound in the 1600 block of 1st Street struck a man crossing the roadway, according to an article in the Orange County Register. The unidentified pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene, but law enforcement has yet to make a a determination of fault for the tragic accident. According to the news report, the pedestrian was not walking in a marked crosswalk and alcohol was not believed to have been a factor. The second incident occurred at the West Warner Avenue and South Greenville Street intersection when a girl riding her bicycle through a crosswalk was struck by an unidentified vehicle, described only as a "small car". The driver apparently fled the scene before law enforcement arrived. The girl was reportedly taken to a hospital with significant injuries, and authorities are asking anyone with information to call the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-245-8701.
See the Orange County Register article HERE.
In another reported accident, this one in Seal Beach, a pedestrian was killed after she was struck by a vehicle while crossing Pacific Coast Highway north of Anderson Street. The woman, Holly Barish-Sablich, who turned 22 on Wednesday, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the report by the Orange County Register. The crash was reported just before 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, and witnesses indicated Barish-Sablich was in the process of crossing PCH outside of a sidewalk or controlled intersection when the incident occurred. In spite of life saving measures having been performed by paramedics, this young woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The multi-agency law enforcement team investigating the tragic accident is asking for the public's help and anyone who witnessed the accident should call investigator Jeff Gibson at 562-799-4100, ext. 1641.
The cause of these tragic accidents has yet to be fully determined. These pedestrian/bicycle accidents all raise the issue of driver attention. Even assuming the pedestrians were crossing the street outside of a marked cross and/or away from an intersection, drivers are still obligated to keep a reasonable lookout for people crossing the street on foot or on a bicycle. All of these recent accidents happened while it was dark and an assessment of visibility and speed will have to be accomplished to determine fault. Assuming that headlights were in operation on all of the vehicles involved, it must be determined whether those lights illuminated the roadway for a sufficient distance for the drivers to have seen the pedestrians/bicyclist in sufficient time to have had an opportunity to avoid the accident. Generally, if an impending danger can be seen more than 1.5 to 2 seconds before an impact, a driver is expected to have sufficient "perception-reaction" time to take evasive action. When an accident involving shared responsibility occurs, when more than one party has been negligent, a civl jury is often called upon to determine the respective fault of the parties.
Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by a driver's inattention should be an important concern for all Californians. When the parties to an accident share the responsibility for its occurrence, they should each be held accountable for the injuries and damages they cause. An Orange County injury trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling automobile accident cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been seriously injured in an accident involving shared responsibility?
Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.