The Press Enterprise reported today that a 5-year-old girl died at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday after being injured in a two-vehicle collision in Mead Valley. Janet Gomez, of Perris, died at 3:08 p.m. at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, about 45 minutes after the collision at Kinney and Haines streets, the coroner's office said in a news release. Janet was a passenger in one of two vehicles, reported to be a Jeep and a small sedan. Citing Fire Department sources, the Enterprise reported five other people were injured, two suffering moderate injuries, and three with minor injuries.
See the story HERE.
In an unrelated incident, a 40-year-old Hesperia man died last night after a motorcycle crash in Colton. Citing San Bernardino County coroner's officials, the Enterprise reported the accident occurred at 5:09 p.m. Tuesday. The motorcycle rider, John Steven Lang, was riding a 2002 Yamaha north along Iowa Street south of the Interstate-215 on-ramp when he collided with a 1997 Ford utility truck traveling in the same direction. According to the article, the investigating police officer has apparently concluded Lang was passing on the right when he collided with the front end of the Ford utility truck. The victim died at 5:58 p.m. at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
See the story HERE.
The above accidents are still under investigation, and it is unknown what will be determined as the primary cause of these two tragic collisions. Since both accidents happened during daylight hours, lighting was apparently not an issue. However, the accident involving Lang may involve a visibility issue in that the truck driver apparently did not see Lang in time to avoid the collision. With regard to Lang's apparent passing on the right, the California Vehicle Code does contain the following relevant provision:
§ 21755. Passing on right safely (a) The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting that movement in safety. In no event shall that movement be made by driving off the paved or main-traveled portion of the roadway...
Here, it is unknown why and under what circumstances Lang reportedly attempted to pass the utility truck and whether that turning maneuver was reasonably safe. Accident reconstruction, based on photographs, debris location, roadway marks and eyewitness accounts, will likely solve this tragic puzzle.
With regard to the accident in Mead Valley, involving little Janet Gomez, the primary cause and any related, contributing factors remain to be seen. However, whenever a child of this age, 5 years, is the only one killed in an automobile collision the use of appropriate seating is to be considered. In California, Vehicle Code § 27360 requires (with certain exceptions) the use of a child passenger restraint system or safety belt if the child is less than 6 years old or weighs less than 60 pounds. It is highly likely the investigating agency looking into the Gomez accident will consider this an important factor in determining whether this tragedy could have been avoided.
Compensation for victims of automobile accidents, caused by a driver’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians. The same holds true for the victim's families. When a driver operates their vehicle carelessly a fatal accident, they should be held accountable. An Orange County wrongful death attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has 20 years years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident?
- 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.