The Perils of Semi-Truck Accidents: How To Determine Fault?

April 14, 2014,

While it may be hard to believe, around 170,000 individuals are injured every year in trucking accidents. Further, one eighth of all auto-related deaths involve large commercial freighters. So why don't you hear more about these commonplace and horrific accidents? Because most commercial trucking firms employ large law and public relations firms to keep the extent of their accidents out of the public eye.

semi truck.jpgTherefore, if you or someone close to you has been involved in an accident with a large truck, it is extremely important to seek out the best personal injury attorneys to fight for your rights. While semi truck drivers are professional drivers who take their craft seriously, there are many ways where they can error just like normal drivers, including:

  • Distracted Driving - All drivers are human and subject to the perils of being distracted while driving. They could be interacting with another person, on a call, or even just changing the radio station. Also, considering many drivers travel with a small animal, their attention could be compromised while tending to the animal.
  • Speeding - While most drivers obey the speed limit, there are always exceptions. Also, a drive could be speeding while traveling the speed limit if conditions do not permit. If it is overly windy, icy, or foggy, to name a few, then a driver must reduce his speed.
  • Fatigue - It is a well-known fact that semi truck drivers cover long distances and sometimes drive while not in the best mental state. While there are strict limits on how long truckers can drive, it is still very common for drivers to be tired behind the wheel.
  • Mechanical Oversight - When driving down a steep highway, one often notices runaway truck ramps. When seeing how long these ramps are it is easy to imagine how a truck becomes a rolling battering ram when their brakes are out. If brakes are not properly serviced, trucks put many innocent lives in danger. Worn tires and other components are also potentially dangerous. Drivers often try to squeeze out a few more trips before a scheduled repair especially if they are financially burdened.

As you can see there are a whole host of reasons why truck drivers and their companies can be liable if they are involved in an accident. Further, since trucks severely outweigh cars and drivers are considered to be professionals, if it can be proven that a driver's negligence caused the accident, juries will graciously side with the victim.

Continue reading "The Perils of Semi-Truck Accidents: How To Determine Fault?" »

Pedestrian Saved by Placentia Good Samaritan

April 9, 2014,

In a case of miraculous tragedy, a Good Samaritan saved a pedestrian from sure death late Saturday evening in Placentia. The pedestrian was clipped by a car at the intersection of Melrose and La Jolla streets and lay unconscious in the road while traffic sped by.

1193996_pedestrian_crossing_box.jpgAlec Ralph, who was driving when he saw the first collision, jumped into action in order to save the pedestrian from being run-over. In Mr. Ralph's own words, "I panicked, threw my car into park, threw on the hazards told my girlfriend to call 911, and ran over to make sure he was still alive, and screaming for the neighbors to come out and help."

Once the pedestrian was saved form further harm, he was rushed to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The driver who originally stuck the pedestrian is not expected to face any charges. Considering how perilous this year has been for pedestrians throughout Orange County, such acts of bravery are a welcome sight.

Continue reading "Pedestrian Saved by Placentia Good Samaritan" »

Another Hit-And-Run Bicycle Accident in Huntington Beach

April 7, 2014,

Orange County residents had to endue yet another horrific hit-and-run bicycle accident over the weekend. It seems there is no end in sight for such an alarming trend that is taking the lives of many innocent, unsuspecting individuals.

Thumbnail image for 1110334_car_and_bike.jpgThe 34-year-old female victim was riding her bike along Beach Boulevard at the intersection of Utica Avenue in Huntington Beach at about 8:25 p.m. Sunday when an unidentified driver clipped her from behind and sped off. The victims was rushed the UCI Medical Center, where she succumbed to her injuries.

After speaking with witnesses, investigators believe the suspect was driving a white sedan. No arrests have been made and the investigation is still ongoing. Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact Huntington Beach police at (714) 536-5670.

Continue reading "Another Hit-And-Run Bicycle Accident in Huntington Beach" »

Another Tragic Motorcycle Accident in Placentia

April 4, 2014,

Another tragic motorcycle accident occurred in Placentia at the 57 carpool connector to the westbound 91 freeway Thursday morning. CHP Officer Denise Quesada said that the male motorcyclist suffered major injured from the crash and was later pronounced dead at UCI Medical Center in Orange a little less than an hour after the crash.

54506_motorcycle_02-2.jpgInvestigators believe the motorcyclist was coming around the corner of the connector when he hit the wall, said CHP officer Florentino Olivera. Officers closed the connector for a one-hour SigAlert, but extended the closure for the investigation. No other vehicles were involved.

Unfortunately, in motorcycle and car accidents like this one, victims often suffer catastrophic injuries and fatalities often occur. Victims of car accidents would greatly benefit from the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Continue reading "Another Tragic Motorcycle Accident in Placentia" »

Pedestrian Killed During Three Car Pile Up in Lake Forest

April 2, 2014,

In a very unfortunate turn of events, a pedestrian was killed today during a three-car accident in Lake Forest. The accident occurred around 5:20 a.m. on Bark Parkway near the intersection of Dimension Drive. According to Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the 52-year-old victim was not in the crosswalk when the accident occurred.

Thumbnail image for 747725_pedestrian_sign_3.jpgWhile the accident is still under investigation, it appears that the truck, which struck the victim, was trying to brake in time to not hit the pedestrian crossing the street. However, two other cars behind the truck could not brake in time and their momentum cause them to force the truck into the pedestrian.

All drivers remained at the scene and cooperated with police officers. Bake Parkway was closed in both directions between Dimension Drive and Rancho Parkway while deputies investigated the accident. No arrests or citations have yet been made while the Sheriff 's Department investigates the crash.

Continue reading "Pedestrian Killed During Three Car Pile Up in Lake Forest" »

Horrible Weekend Tragedy in Santa Ana: Woman Hits Boy in Crosswalk

March 31, 2014,

33-year-old Suray Leon of Santa Ana was arrested for felony DUI shortly before sunset Sunday night. In what has to be one of the most heart-wrenching accidents in the area in recent memory, Leon allegedly failed to stop at a traffic light and struck a 10 year old boy in the crosswalk with her 2008 Ford F-150.

245626_zebra_-_pedestrian_crossing.jpgThe boy was walking across 17th Street at Cabrillo Park Drive at about 6:45 p.m. with his brother when Leon collided with him. The severity of the impact threw him almost 40 feet. He was immediately rushed to the hospital and remains in critical condition with life threatening injuries.

Police have not released information regarding Leon's BAC, but all accounts seem to indicate that she was driving well over the legal limit. Nobody wins when someone gets behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Continue reading "Horrible Weekend Tragedy in Santa Ana: Woman Hits Boy in Crosswalk" »

Dangerous Chemicals Found in Placentia Condo Complex: Premises Liability Cases Likely to Ensue

March 28, 2014,

Placentia police officers responded Thursday to multiple reports of a chemical smell coming from a condo complex on the 200 block of South Kraemer Boulevard around 8:50 p.m. According to Sargent Brad Butts, they arrived with search warrants, as this chemical smell was a potential sign of narcotics activity.

hazardous-material-danger-sign-s-0506-e1289050833310.gifOne of the condominium buildings was declared unsafe to live in and two others were evacuated for multiple hours after a hazardous-materials team found an array of chemicals inside one of the units. However, while police officers expected to find drug activity, they found that one of the residents was using solvents and resin to finish a home birdbath project.

The Orange County Fire Authority hazardous-materials team red tagged the condo which contained the solvents and resins and it will have to be cleaned and further inspected until it is deemed safe to live in. If any of the other residents become ill due to exposure to the noxious chemicals, some premises liability cases are likely to ensue.

While residents of the complex are thankful that the smell was not tied to a meth or other drug related lab, the resins and solvents used are still very harmful to be around for long periods of time.

Continue reading "Dangerous Chemicals Found in Placentia Condo Complex: Premises Liability Cases Likely to Ensue" »

Personal Injury Cases Likely to Ensue After Swallows Day Parade Accidents

March 27, 2014,

Last Saturday, four people were injured during two separate accidents at the annual Swallows Day Parade in San Juan Capistrano. Multiple personal injury cases are likely to be filed given the severity or the injuries and nature of the accidents.

swallowsparade.jpegThe first incident happened just minutes after the parade started. It started when two horses were spooked at the intersection of Del Obispo Street and Ortega Highway around 11 a.m. The horses, which were pulling a heavy trailer, galloped through the meager safety divide into the large crowd of spectators. One of the horses fell on top of several bystanders, injuring two women and a 53-year-old double amputee.

The second incident occurred when a 55-year-old woman fell off a chariot being pulling by a small horse and hit her head on the ground. The small horse was also spooked, which caused the woman to fall. It was unclear as to what caused the horses to spook.

After a serious accident, the best course of action is to speak with an Orange County personal injury attorney at your earliest convenience. Many accidents are the result of an individual's careless or wrongful conduct. In such a case, your right to obtain compensation from the responsible party should be protected.

Continue reading "Personal Injury Cases Likely to Ensue After Swallows Day Parade Accidents" »

Beloved High School Skateboarder Killed by Minivan in Placentia

March 25, 2014,

Early Sunday morning El Dorado High School lost a much-loved student when Logan Wells, 16, was hit by a minivan while skateboarding. According to Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jeff Hallock, Logan was riding a skateboard on Bastanchury Road in Placentia about 4:47 a.m. when he was struck just east of Secretariat Way by a Kia van driven by a 61-year-old man.

862201_skate_park.jpgThankfully, the driver of the minivan pulled over immediately and called 911. However, despite the efforts of paramedics, Logan was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. His high school mourned his loss with a moment of silence at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Grief counselors were also brought in to help students cope with their loss.

A memorial was erected near the intersection where the accident happened and students of El Dorado High School wore bucket hats and Hawaiian shirts on Monday, which were both a part of Logan's signature style. While the cause of the accident remains under investigation, the 61-year-old driver of the minivan was not cited or arrested.

Continue reading "Beloved High School Skateboarder Killed by Minivan in Placentia" »

Another Police Chase Turns Deadly in Claremont

March 24, 2014,

Despite a national movement to lessen the likelihood of fatalities during police chases, another chase turned deadly in Claremont. The pursuit was initiated around 5:30 p.m. when police responded to a burglary at a Target store in the 9000 block of Central Avenue in Montclair.

anaheim crash pursuit.jpgPolice arrived to witness a male suspect running out of a Target store with two large TVs. He quickly jumped into a Honda Accord driven by 28-year-old Gabrielle Wines. When the suspects failed to yield to officers, the chase ensued westbound on the 10 Freeway.

The chase turned deadly when the suspects tried to exit on Indian Hill Boulevard and crashed into three other cars on the freeway. Three innocent bystanders were injured in the crash along with Gabrielle Wines, and the male suspect who was thrown from the Honda and pinned under another car.

Wines is being treated at a local hospital and faces a number of charges, including murder. As we discussed in a previous post, there have been many recent breakthroughs in mobile GPS technology that many claim can lessen the dangers of pursuits, especially in high traffic areas. For example, Virginia Beach-based StarChase, is starting to roll out its Pursuit Management System, which uses a laser-guided launcher on the front grill of a police car that fires projectiles that stick on fleeing vehicles, enabling police to track the car by GPS.

Continue reading "Another Police Chase Turns Deadly in Claremont" »

Fatal Four Car Accident in Buena Park Caused by Stalled FedEx Truck

March 20, 2014,

Tragedy struck late Wednesday night when four vehicles, including two big rigs, collided on the 91 Freeway in Buena Park, killing one driver and injuring another. The accident happened in the eastbound lanes around 11:45 p.m. between the Knott Avenue and Beach Boulevard exits.

1094241_truck.jpgAuthorities say the accident was caused when an eighteen-wheel truck rear ended a stalled FedEx big rig in the middle lane of the freeway. A Chevrolet Suburban with a family of six onboard and another vehicle were caught in the wreckage. The driver of the eighteen-wheel truck was declared dead at the hospital and another individual suffered minor injuries.

While semi-trucks form the backbone of our commercial freight across the country, an accident of this magnitude highlights how dangerous these vehicles can be when matched up against consumer vehicles. With 18 wheels that can carry up to 80,000 pounds, these semi-trucks can be rolling battering rams when they lose control.

With one third of the nearly 2 million semi-trucks operating nation-wide being registered in California, Florida, and Texas, it is important for drivers in these high traffic states to recognize the dangers of these behemoths and drive cautiously around them. With so many semi-trucks in operation, the average motorist has become accustomed to seeing semis as ubiquitous. They are, however, far from harmless.

Continue reading "Fatal Four Car Accident in Buena Park Caused by Stalled FedEx Truck" »

Motorcyclist Dies in Irvine Crash

March 19, 2014,

Another accident this week provides a horrible reminder of how perilous motorcycle accidents can be. Around 8 p.m. Monday night, Irvine Police Officers responded to single vehicle crash near Main Street and Paseo Westpark in Irvine.

motorcycle-accident.jpgOfficers found 22-year-old Paul Tapalla of Montclair dead at the scene after his motorcycle hit a sign and a tree. Authorities say what caused Tapalla to lose control of the motorcycle was still under investigation. The department's major accident investigation team is investigating the crash.

Motorcycle accidents all too often result in fatalities. Ultimately when riders collide with other motorists or stationary objects, their bodies are no match for the force of impact. Even the safest motorcycle riders are not free from the perils of other drivers' ineptitude or dangerous roads.

Continue reading "Motorcyclist Dies in Irvine Crash" »

17-Year-Old Hit-And-Run Case Shows How Difficult Financial Compensation Can Be

March 17, 2014,

When a vehicle hits a pedestrian, it is a well known fact that the person on foot will most likely suffer catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, brain injuries, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries or paralysis. If it can be determined that the driver of the vehicle is at fault, which is typically the case as pedestrians normally have the right of way, significant financial recovery can be obtained by the victim and their family to care for the catastrophic injuries sustained. However, if a driver is not identified, the financial recovery process can be quite difficult and sometimes the family will have to bear the full burden of the medical costs associated with the catastrophic injuries.

Stephen Cureton hitnrun.jpgUnfortunately, the Cureton family is currently experiencing this worst case scenario. It has been over a month since a car hit their son, Stephen Cureton, while he was skateboarding in the bike lane on Yorktown Avenue, just east of Beach Boulevard, in Huntington Beach. The driver immediately fled the scene and witnesses were unable to identify a license plate or model of the vehicle. The suspect's vehicle was only described as dark-colored sedan, possibly a Corvette. Multiple leads have been followed but no suspects have been identified.

According to Stephen's mom Victoria, "He has at least a good year of surgeries ahead of him." He is currently home after spending weeks in the hospital recovering from multiple cuts to his face and body, a blood clot in his spinal column, a broken scapula, a laceration on his spleen, a fractured kneecap and torn ligaments in both knees.

Fundraisers have been held in Stephen's honor since the accident, yet it is unlikely these funds will come close to covering the costs of his tragedy. The family is also offering a $1,000 reward for any information that might lead to the arrest of the driver, as they cannot file a personal injury case against the driver until they come forward or are caught. Anyone with information can call the Huntington Beach Police Department at 714-960-8811.

Continue reading "17-Year-Old Hit-And-Run Case Shows How Difficult Financial Compensation Can Be" »

Road Rage Turns Deadly in Sylmar

March 14, 2014,

It seems that society has hit a new low on the side of the 210 Freeway in Sylmar early Friday morning. A man was found shot and killed in what detectives are calling an apparent act of road rage taken to the ultimate limit. PHOTO COURTESY OF KABC NEWS

Thumbnail image for Sylmar Shooting.jpgAccording to authorities, the victim was driving westbound on the 210 in his black Mitsubishi Eclipse shortly before 1 a.m. when a driver in another vehicle opened fire after an altercation on the road. The victim was killed instantly and his Eclipse came to a stop on an embankment on the side of the road.

The victim did not possess a gun nor did he have any gang or criminal ties. Further, he lived locally and was commuting to work, which makes the story that much more paradoxical. Detectives urge anyone with information on this case to contact the LAPD at: (877) LAPD-24-7.

Hopefully the shooter(s) will be found and justice to the victim's family served in this apparent wrongful death case. Atrocities like this make you question the very fabric of our community as such a disregard of the value of human life is unsettling.

Continue reading "Road Rage Turns Deadly in Sylmar" »

Drivers and Homeowners Beware, Red-Flag Warning in Effect Across Orange County

March 12, 2014,

High winds, warmer temperatures and extremely low humidity have combined to create the perfect environment for fires to start and spread throughout Orange County today. The National Weather Service believes sustained winds will blow at around 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph, bringing potential for extreme fire behavior and have therefor issued a red-flag warning across the county until late this afternoon.

241 fire.jpgMotorists should take the following precautions while a red-flag warning is in effect:

  1. Never pull over in dry grass.
  2. Ensure trailer chains don't drag on the ground.
  3. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
  4. Have proper tire pressure to avoid driving on wheel rim.
  5. Never let your brake pads wear too thin.

Home owners should take the following precautions while a red-flag warning is in effect:

  1. Residents should make sure they have 100 feet of defensible space around structures.
  2. Clear dead weeds and vegetation.
  3. Remove leaves and needles from gutters.
  4. Trim branches 6 feet from the ground.
  5. Never mow or trim dry grass on a Red Flag Warning Day. (Mow before 10 a.m. on a day when its not hot and windy).
  6. Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.

Should you or someone you has been injured because of a car or premises liability accident, it is in your best interest to contact a competent personal injury attorney. It is often the case that another driver or property owner will deny any responsibility or wrongdoing for the incident. I can meet with you or the victim and determine the liability of the driver or property owner and any potential insurance company. Cohn & Swartzon has been handling car accident and premises liability personal injury lawsuits for over 25 years for individuals and families in and around Orange County, California and surrounding areas, including Santa Ana, Irvine, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Yorba Linda, Anaheim, Fullerton, Brea and the surrounding communities.

Continue reading "Drivers and Homeowners Beware, Red-Flag Warning in Effect Across Orange County" »