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CURRENT NEWS

6/2/2014 Bicycle Accident Case Settles for Driver's Policy Limits
The victim in an automobile versus bicycle accident has settled his claim for the $100,000.00 policy limits available.
11/4/2013 Lawsuit Filed in Orange County Trip and Fall
A lawsuit for personal injury has been filed on behalf of the firm's client after a serious fall within a Buena Park store in which the client badly fractured both arms.
2/18/2013 Glass Case Against Orange County Apartment Complex Settled
Last month the lawsuit against an Orange County apartment complex for an allegedly dangerous window was settled for $185,000.00. The firm had filed suit on behalf of a female resident after a window shattered near her bed cutting her leg severely, resulting in surgery and residual scarring.
9/3/2012 Case Resolved In Anaheim Bar Assault
Firm resolves assault victim's third-party case against bar owner in Anaheim. In spite of the fact the attackers were never identified by the police, the claim against the bar owner was a success.
4/18/2012 Firm Files Suit In Death of Lap Band Patient
The firm has filed suit after a 38-year-old woman died last April as a result of a lap band procedure in August of 2010. According to the Orange County Coroner's office, the patient's stomach had been perforated by the band.

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Truck Driver's U-Turn Causes Serious Accident in Whittier

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/11/2013
A truck driver making a u-turn at the bottom of a freeway exit in Whittier apparently caused an accident early this morning, resulting in serious injuries. According to KTLA News, citing official sources, the big rig driver made an illegal u-turn at about 1:15 a.m., and the driver of a Dodge Challenger was unable to avoid hitting the trailer, ripping the roof off of the car.

Orange Car Crash on 5 Freeway Results in Fatality

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 08/24/2013
While waiting for a flat tire to be fixed on the 5 freeway in the City of Orange, a 54-year-old man was struck and killed Thursday night. According to a report by KABC News, the victim was sitting on the bumper of a Toyota Sequoia while one of the passengers changed the flat tire when the accident occurred.

Distracted Driver Killed While Arguing with Passenger in Riverside County

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/29/2013
A teenaged driver was killed early on Friday when she crashed her car into a pine tree in Riverside County. According to the Press Enterprise, the collision happened at about 12:15 a.m. when a 19-year-old woman from Rialto was apparently distracted while arguing with a passenger in her car. Citing official sources, the Press Enterprise identified a back seat passenger as 19-year-old George Poma of Grand Terrace.

Suspected Drunk Driver Charged With Murder in Santa Clarita Collision

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/26/2013
The driver of a wrong-way truck has been criminally charged following freeway crash that killed a minister and his passenger and critically injured a second passenger. According to NBC News, the driver of the the pick-up truck, 38-year-old Bradford Pate, has been charged with two counts of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and DUI with a blood-alcohol content over .08 percent.

20-Year-Old Killed in Moreno Valley - Driver Arrested for DUI

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 01/09/2013
According to a report in the Press Enterprise, A 20-year-old pedestrian in Moreno Valley was killed Tuesday night by the driver of an SUV who was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. The victim, Edward Pattio, Jr., sustained major head trauma and was taken emergently to Riverside County Regional Medical Center, where he died about two hours later. The driver of the SUV was apparently uninjured.

Shocking Hit-and-Run In Santa Ana Seriously Injures 7-Year-Old

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 12/06/2012

Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who struck a 7-year-old girl in Santa Ana on Tuesday evening, according to KTLA news.  This horrific, Orange County accident was captured on security cameras near the scene, and police are currently looking for the driver of what they believe is a black Toyota 4Runner.  The little girl was with her mother and was running across the street to get to her home, an apartment complex on the opposite side of the street.  She is still in the hospital following surgery to relieve the swelling on her brain and is expected to survive.

Anyone with information about this tragedy should call the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-245-8665

DUTIES OF DRIVERS AND PEDESTRIANS

In general, a driver no right of way superior to that of a pedestrian, and each has equal and reciprocal rights, although driver, being in control of dangerous instrumentality capable of inflicting fatal injuries, is charged with a greater amount of care than pedestrian in order to be bound to same standards of ordinary care.  Pedestrians who cross in the middle of a block do not have an equal right to be in path of oncoming motorist, but they are not fair game for a driver who operates his vehicle without regard for what may unexpectedly appear in street.  

ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION AND LIABILITY

Here, from the videotape, it appears the driver is traveling faster than 25 miles per hour but is using the headlights on the vehicle.   Given the apparent speed, the driver was likely in violation of the California Vehicle Code since the accident scene was within a residential area, with a speed limit of 25 mph.  In addition to the speed, the distance at which the victim could be seen and the time the driver had to react play a role in assessing liability.  If it can be shown the driver should have seen the little girl for more than 1 1/2 to 2 seconds prior to the impact and failed to take sufficient, evasive action, the bulk of the liability would likely rest with the driver.

Any personal injury case brought on behalf of the little girl in the accident above will require careful, detailed consideration of the facts and circumstances that will ultimately be necessary to reconstruct this serious accident.  An experienced Orange County car accident attorney can be of help in assessing this type of injury case.  If you or a family member is an accident victim, you should make an informed decision about your rights and whether compensation is available for injuries and damages sustained.

SOURCE:  7-year-old Girl Hospitalized in Santa Ana Hit-and-Run, KTLA News, December 6, 2012

Dana Point Crash Involves Three Vehicles

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/24/2012
The GMC Silverado had been stolen from San Juan Capistrano earlier that afternoon while the truck’s owner was working, and the driver proceeded to travel up the wrong side of the road between Camino del Avion to Del Obispo Street and the Pacific Coast Highway. There he collided with two vehicles, a carpet-cleaning truck and another car. The drivers of all three vehicles were taken to an area hospital, but none is said to be in danger from serious personal injuries.

Hit-and-Run Driver Surrenders in Westminster

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/22/2012
Kuong Pham, 44, turned himself in to Westminster police on Wednesday, stating he was the driver they were looking for in the death of Brennan Solt, 24. Solt was hit near Beach Boulevard and 19th Street late Monday evening and killed instantly. Solt was a Stockton resident and had three children.

Three Killed in Long Beach Collision

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/19/2012

According to KTLA news and the Belmont Shore-Naples Dispatch, two men were instantly killed and a third died in the hospital as a result of a traffic collision in Long Beach Saturday night.  The first two victims, Mark Martineau, 36, and Richard McAleavey, 54, were declared at the scene of the accident in the 2900 block of Redondo Avenue.  Reportedly, Martineau lost control of his  Dodge Ram when trying to change lanes, causing the vehicle to careen over a sidewalk and into a pylon beneath the 405 Freeway.  Another passenger, 36-year-old Terrence Harris, was badly injured and succumbed to his injuries on Sunday afternoon.  The crash is under investigation, but the driver may have been speeding and lost control in wet weather.  The Long Beach Police Department would like witnesses to call them at (562) 570-7355.

LONG BEACH TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the City of Long Beach ranks 10th/9th out of the 13 cities in Los Angeles County with a population of more than 250,000 residents, in terms of injury and fatal accidents.  In 2010, there were 1,874 injury or fatal accidents in Long Beach.  Of those accidents, 254 were reportedly speed related, as may have been the case in the accident above.  From a quick review of the scene via Google Maps, there does not appear to be anything unusual or dangerous about this particular area of Redondo Avenue.  To the contrary, the roadway appears flat and straight with virtually no obstacles of any kind.  Absent other information to the contrary, this tragic, triple-fatality accident would appear to be the result of driver negligence.

WRONGFUL DEATH RECOVERY

The families of McAleavey and Harris would appear to have the right to pursue claims for wrongful death against the insurance carrier for Martineau and/or his estate.  Under California law, surviving family members (typically the spouse and children) have the right to pursue claims for the loss of the society, care, comfort, affection, love and support their loved one would otherwise have provided.  Claims such as this are generally unlimited in terms of the amount the family can recover, except in the context of a medical malpractice case.  What does impact the recoverable compensation are factors such as the amount the deceased provided in the way of financial support and the closeness of the relationship with the family left behind.

An experienced Orange County personal injury attorney is perhaps in the best position to assess the above factors and the best approach to a wrongful death claim.  

Three Santa Ana Teens Hit By Car

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/17/2012
Three Santa Ana teenagers were injured seriously when a car hit them and fled the scene, according to The Orange County Register. The three boys were crossing Susan Street and Fifth Street at an unmarked crosswalk as they left a park. A driver attempted to pass a car that was stopped on Susan Street and hit the three, according to Santa Ana police.

Mission Viejo Motorcyclist Seriously Injured in Personal Injury Accident

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/15/2012
A Mission Viejo motorcycle collision may be deemed a hit-and-run and left a motorcyclist with serious injuries, according to witnesses and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The crash occurred around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday when a 50-year-old unidentified motorcyclist was traveling on Alicia Parkway at Coronel Drive and possibly hit a parked car. The motorcycle then crashed, seriously injuring the rider who was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Buena Park Cyclist Killed in Car Collision

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/13/2012
Jeremy Kidder was struck by an SUV while in a crosswalk at the intersection. The driver was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. Kidder was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. Authorities have received conflicting witness reports on which vehicle had the right of way. The driver has cooperated with police and authorities do not believe that alcohol or drugs were a factor in the accident. Buena Park Police Department is asking anyone with information to come forward and c

Anaheim Motorcyclist Dies of Injuries

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 11/09/2012
Dennis Zafran, a 61-year-old motorcyclist from Anaheim, was pronounced dead Wednesday after languishing in an area hospital for several days following a motorcycle accident, according to the Orange County Register.

Buena Park Motorcyclist Killed in Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/30/2012
A 28-year-old man was killed Wednesday in a motorcycle accident in Buena Park, according to the Orange County Register. Steven Bach of Buena Park was riding his motorcycle through a residential area around 7:00 p.m. when he collided with an SUV at the intersection of Western Avenue and Fillmore Drive. Police have not released any information on who was at fault in the crash or what led up to the accident. Bach was immediately taken to the hospital but died within an hour from traumatic injuri

The Dangers of Distracted Driving

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/29/2012
Distracted driving is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous behaviors taking place on our highways. According to the U.S. Government's Distracted Driving website, sponsored by the Department of Transportation, 3092 people died and 416,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2010. This represents about ten percent of all fatal car accidents and nearly 14 percent of all injury accidents in the United States for a given year.

Mission Viejo Victim Killed in Bridge Accident

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/23/2012
An unidentified victim died in an automobile accident when a car went off a bridge and landed on railroad tracks below, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department authorities. A Lexus was traveling east on Alicia Parkway when the driver lost control of the vehicle, went over the median, and plunged off the bridge to land on the train tracks below. The car fell about 40 feet and landed upside down on the railroad tracks. There was no train in the area at the time.

Motorcyclist in San Juan Capistrano Killed in Traffic Backup

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/10/2012
Travis Tucker, 29, died in a motorcycle accident on the Ortega Highway during a traffic backup around noon on Saturday, according to the Orange County Register. Mr. Tucker was driving a 2004 Suzuki motorcycle and swerved to avoid a Honda that made a sudden turn into the left lane to avoid rear-ending backed-up traffic.

Man Sentenced in Garden Grove Police Accident

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 10/09/2012
A man received a six-year prison sentence this week for running over a Garden Grove police officer during a routine traffic stop in 2011. Marcos Gonzalez, 28, of Fullerton, pleaded guilty to a felony count of assault on a police officer and received six years. Part of the sentence was enhanced for fleeing the scene of a car accident with injuries and for prior drug convictions. The charges stemmed from a November, 2011, incident in which a Garden Grove motorcycle police officer pulled the

Sheriff's Deputy Involved In Fatal Rearend Crash

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 09/11/2012

According to news reports, a San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriff was involved in a rearend, three-vehicle collision that killed a 38-year-old woman this weekend in Victorville.  The victim, Vanessa Rosales, reportedly died at a hospital approximately 45 minutes after the the crash at 8 p.m. on Sunday.  The collision happened on Air Expressway about a quarter-mile west of Village Drive.  The deputy's patrol car rearended a Honda, and that collision caused the Honda to veer into oncoming traffic where it struck a Mercedes.  Rosales was a passenger in the Honda, and the other two occupants sustained mild to moderate injuries.  The driver of the Mercedes, the sheriff's deputy and a juvenile prisoner all sustained minor injuries.  The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

See the Press Enterprise story HERE.

While this tragic accident is still under investigation, under California law there is a presumption of negligence on the part of the deputy sheriff.   Generally speaking, there is a permissible inference of negligence from the fact of a rear-end collision requiring some explanation or excuse from the driver of the rear car.   Ordinarily, in a collision in which a following motorist collides with the rear end of a vehicle ahead the happening of the accident s some evidence of negligence on the part of the following motorist.  In cases in which the rear car has collided with a stopped or stationary vehicle, the courts have applied the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur and have held that an inference arises that the collision was caused by some negligent conduct on the part of the driver of the rear car, which can be rebutted.  It is not clear from the description of the accident above whether the Honda was stopped when hit by the police cruiser, but there is at least an inference of negligence on the part of the deputy at this point.  The Rosales family and the other victims in this crash are entitled to a fair and complete investigation of the cause so the responsible party can compensate them as well as the law allows.

Compensation for the victims of preventable, rearend automobile accidents should be an important concern for everyone.  When a careless driver causes a crash and a death results,  he or she should be held accountable.   An Orange County wrongful death lawyer with experience at handling auto accident cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 21 years of experience handling auto accident cases, including those involving rearending drivers.   He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been the victim of a serious or fatal rearend automobile 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.

Two Orange County Accidents Leave Pedestrian and Passenger Injured

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 02/08/2012

A traffic collision this morning on the westbound 91 freeway overturned a Hyundai Sonata and injured a female passenger in the car.  According to a story in the Orange County Register, the accident was reported at 7:40 a.m., just west of North State College Boulevard.  Citing official sources, the Register story indicated that witnesses said a Toyota 4Runner made an unsafe lane change into the carpool lane and sideswiped the Sonata, causing it to overturn and come to rest near the retaining wall.  The other three vehicles damaged at about the same were possibly involved in a chain-reaction collision arising from the rollover.  

See the Orange County Register story and photographs HERE.

Last night, at about 7:30 p.m., a female pedestrian was critically injured when she was struck during a hit-and-run accident in Orange County.  According to the KTLA news story, the incident occurred on Bolsa Avenue, just west of Beach Boulevard, in the City of Westminster.  Police are still looking for two men who fled the scene after crashing the stolen SUV, a white Lexis.  The woman was struck on the sidewalk near a bus stop, and apparently the men in the Lexis fled on foot. The paramedics rushed the woman to UC Irvine Medical Center where she was listed in critical but stable condition.

See the KTLA story and photos HERE.

Automobile accidents like the ones above are unfortunately all too common.  Aside from issues of fault and recovery from the injuries sustained, nearly all cases of this type are impacted dramatically by the insurance policies, or lack thereof, of the parties involved.  For example, when the owner of a vehicle is injured in an accident, but he or she had no insurance on their car at the time, they are not entitled under California law to recover compensation for their pain and suffering.  Generally, the only valid claim they possess against the at-fault party is one for the economic losses sustained, medical expenses and lost wages.  Another scenario that is often present when an automobile accident occurs is a case in which the only applicable policy limits are inadequate to fully compensate the injured party for all of the injuries and damages sustained.  For example, in a recent accident in Orange County, a young driver turned left into the path of an oncoming vehicle occupied by three women, one of whom was very badly injured.  The worst injured passenger sustained an open (compound) fracture of the right arm for which surgery had to be performed.  The medical expenses related to the surgery totaled more than $60,000.00, but the young driver's policy had a $25,000.00 limit.  In the absence of other applicable insurance or the young driver having substantial personal assets (which was not the case), the badly injured passenger will unfortunately go without full compensation.

Compensation for the victims of automobile accidents caused by a careless or reckless driver should be an important concern for all Californians. When a party without fault is badly injured, the at-fault driver should each be held accountable for the injuries and damages they cause. An Orange County personal injury attorney 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 automobile accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver?

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.

Two Pedestrians Killed in the Inland Empire

Posted by: Paul Ralph Posted Date: 06/03/2011

Earlier this week an Apple Valley man, Paul G. Robinson, passed away from injuries sustained about 8 weeks ago when he was struck by a pick up truck in Apple Valley.  The accident happened on August 27th at about 6:30 a.m. while the victim was apparently walking in the roadway.   The accident remains under investigation.

www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_webdeath.49a4728.html

According to news reports, a 50-year-old Desert Hot Springs man will be prosecuted for gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run driving stemming from last week's death of a pedestrian in that city.  That accident happened at approximately 6:30 p.m. on October 20th, and the victim was 49-year-old Roger Pace of Cornelius, Oregon.  He died two days later at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.  The detectives investigating the case have found that the driver was operating his vehicle on a suspended license, is nearly 100% blind in one eye and may have been traveling at an excessive speed.

http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_webfatal.1.e221d4.html

In general, both drivers and pedestrians must use reasonable care to avoid accidents.  However, that duty to use reasonable care does not require the same amount of caution from drivers and pedestrians.  While both drivers and pedestrians must be aware that motor vehicles can cause serious injuries, drivers must use more care than pedestrians.  A greater amount of care is required of the vehicle operator because of the fact that the driver is behind the wheel of an automobile, which is an instrumentality capable of inflicting serious and often fatal injuries upon others using the highway.

 

In accidents such as those described above, the driver of the automobile has an obligation to keep his eyes on the roadway to ensure collisions are avoided, if they can be.  Pedestrians are likewise obligated to keep a reaonable lookout for vehicles coming into their path.  Since it is the vehicle operator who is in the best position to avoid the collision and the one in control of the dangerous instrumentality, the duty of care is heightened for the driver.  Accordingly, when a driver approaches an area known for high pedestrian traffic (a downtown shopping area or near a school for example), caution must be used when traveling down that roadway.  If a driver can see a pedestrian in time to slow and avoid an accident, he may be held liable if he fails to do so.

Compensation for pedestrian victims of traffic accidents, caused by a driver’s negligence, should be an important concern for all Californians.  When a driver operates their vehicle carelessly and strikes a pedestrian, they should be held accountable.  An Orange County trial lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has more than 19 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Does the California law imposing a heightened duty on drivers, when compared to pedestrians, seem fair?

  • 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.

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