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Jeep Rollover, Wrongful Death, Los AngelesOn June 19, 2016 actor Anton Yelchin was killed in a rollaway car accident in the driveway of his Studio City, California home. Mr. Yelchin, most famous for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek movies, had parked his Jeep Cherokee in his driveway, exited the vehicle and walked down the driveway to check for mail in his mailbox. At this same time, the Jeep came out of gear, rolled backwards, and pinned Mr. Yelchin between the Jeep and the large brick mailbox pillar, killing him instantly.

Three days later, on April 22, 1918, the manufacturers of the Jeep Cherokee, Fiat Chrysler, issued a formal recall on all 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees, 2012-2014 Dodge Chargers, and 2012-2014 Chrysler 300’s because the electronic gear systems needed to have a part added to them for safety reasons.

Wrongful Death Suit and Class Action Lawsuits Filed

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Dangerous Intersection, Los Angeles, Death, Lawsuit
A recent case in Los Angeles, California (Lani Guillmete, et.al. vs. City of Los Angeles, et. al. – L.A. Superior Court Case Number BC523080)  illustrates the responsibility cities hold to take action once they learn that intersections or roadways are in dangerous conditions. If a city does nothing to correct the problem and someone is seriously injured or killed because of it, the city may be held liable to pay damages for the losses caused by the accident.

Background of the case

On Feb. 27, 2013, Thomas Guilmette, a 59-year-old rocket scientist, was riding his motorcycle on Summerland in San Pedro, California. Another man was driving his vehicle on Cabrillo when he tried to turn left onto Summerland, striking the rocket scientist and killing him. The defendant motorist had an obstructed view to his left and was unable to see the scientist because of a row of parked cars. The city did not have any no-parking signs in the area and allowed vehicles to park near the intersection despite the obstruction in vision. The decedent’s wife and son sued the city in a wrongful death civil lawsuit. The motorist was found to not be liable for the accident.

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Autonomous Vehicles, Self Driving Cars, Moral DilemmaIs there a moral dilemma for self-driving cars?  As the time nears when autonomous cars may make a full entry into the marketplace, ethical questions regarding their programming may impact both public safety and the actual adoption by the public of autonomous cars. In 2015, 4.5 million people were seriously injured and almost 40,000 people were killed in traffic accidents. A large number of the accidents that occur every year are due to human error. The thought about autonomous cars is that removing the potential for human error will drastically cut down the injury and fatality rates by preventing accidents. A recent study shows a moral dilemma that exists when autonomous cars would be forced to make decisions about protecting the safety of their occupants or instead those of pedestrians.

A question of the public good versus self-sacrifice: The study

Researchers in the U.S. and France were interested in exploring an ethical dilemma that could arise when autonomous cars are programmed. Specifically, when the cars encounter situations in which the cars could act in order to preserve the lives of their passengers or instead to preserve the lives of pedestrians were studied. The researchers surveyed 2,000 participants, a majority of whom agreed that they thought cars programmed to save the greatest number of people over protecting the passengers in the vehicles was a good idea. However, when they were presented with the idea of actually purchasing a vehicle that was programmed with such a utilitarian purpose, a majority then stated that they would not want to own a car that was not programmed to protect them and their families regardless of how many other lives could be potentially lost.

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Bicycle Accident, CaliforniaA recent jury verdict in Santa Cruz County shows how bicycle accidents may involve more than one vehicle, and if the second driver fails to take action to avoid hitting the cyclist, the second driver may be held to be civilly liable and ordered to pay damage for his or her percentage of fault.

Background of the case

The case involved a wrongful death case in which a farmworker who was riding his bicycle to work was first struck by a car. After landing in the middle of the lane, the man was reportedly talking and moaning. He was then run over by a Ford F-150 that crushed his head and his chest with its tires. The driver of the first car said that the bicyclist had veered in front of him, making the initial collision unavoidable. People who stopped in an effort to help the man after the first crash reported that they had tried to direct traffic away from the man in order to alert other drivers that he was lying in the roadway before the truck hit him. The man’s wife and adult children filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the driver of the Ford F-150.

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Defective Car Seats, Injury Lawyer, CaliforniaAs a defective car seatback injury lawyer in California, I have seen, first-hand, how this serious product defect can cause injury or death.  According to experts, defective seatbacks in some cars can break or collapse in major accidents, particularly rear-end crashes, causing paralysis or death to the occupants. They say that the seats might not provide protection for anyone in the car, including children, even if the car has a five-star rating.

The Danger for Children and Drivers

Crash tests show what could occur when defective seatbacks collapse in major crashes: The driver flies backward, slamming into the face of the child sitting behind. An average of three children die and 470 are injured in car accidents every day, and 11 percent of them were sitting in the back seat.

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grocery store accident attorney, CaliforniaA recent case in California demonstrates how the extent and cause of a plaintiff’s injuries may be disputed even when liability itself is not in dispute. In the case, Plent v. Anheuser-Busch, LLC, Los Angeles Superior Court / BC551113, the injured plaintiff received far more at trial than she would have received if she had accepted the defendant’s final settlement offer.

Background of the case

The plaintiff, an 86-year-old woman, was shopping at an Albertson’s grocery store on May 14, 2013. While she was shopping, an Anheuser-Busch, LLC employee struck the woman with a loaded merchandise cart from behind. The woman fell to the ground and was injured. The incident was captured on the store’s surveillance videotape system. While Anheuser-Busch admitted liability, the extent of the woman’s injuries was at issue at trial. The injured woman filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant on July 9, 2014, alleging her injuries resulted from the defendant’s negligence. She asked for compensation for her future medical expenses, for her pain and suffering and for the loss of enjoyment of her life that the accident had caused.

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Rental Car Defects, Lawsuits, Wrongful Death, RecallsA long-term battle for justice for two 20-year-old women who lost their lives in a tragic accident has just ended in a huge way. Legislatures have just passed a law that governs how rental companies rent out their vehicles. The new law requires auto rental corporations to fix vehicles that are on their lots with recall orders on them. The legislation was passed because of the extremely catastrophic death of two sisters, Raechel and Jacqueline Houck. They lost their lives in 2004 in a crash that sent their mother on a mission to change laws.

An Unnecessary Loss of Life

Automobile accidents are always tragic no matter who loses their lives in them or who gets hurt. This incident was severely tragic because of the neglect that the auto rental company showed. The PT Cruiser that the girls rented was placed on the recall list. The manufacturer notified the vehicle owners, Enterprise Rental Company, of the defect and the need for repairs. Enterprise rented the vehicle to the Houck sisters and three other people instead of removing the vehicle from the inventory until the repairs were done.

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Delivery Truck, Accident, Injury AttorneyThe case of Kayleigh McCall v. Coast Line Distributing, Inc. and Paul Anthony Ceja in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court case no. 14CV0535 has taken the nation by storm. The original case was filed back on October 16, 2014 by 27 year-old Kayleigh McCall. Honorable Barry T. LaBarbera presided over the court proceedings in this auto v. auto accident. It wasn’t until March 10, 2016 that a jury verdict was actually reached in the case.

The whole case revolves around a father hiring his son to work as a truck driver for his dairy distribution company when he should never have been hired in the first place. Paul Ceja had a long-standing history of incarceration, drug abuse, license suspensions and felonies before ever being hired by his father. It was only 10 months into his being hired that he rear-ended the plaintiff on February 4, 2013 at the intersection of Yerba Buena and Highway 1 in Morro Bay. The son ended up crashing the heavy delivery truck into a smaller car traveling at 55-60 miles per hour.

The truck contained various drug paraphernalia such as burned foil containing drug residue, hypodermic needles and Suboxone. He ended up being arrested for driving while under the influence of a controlled substance. A blood test ended up confirming that he had opioids and methamphetamines in his system when the crash occurred. It wasn’t until trial that the defendants admitted fault. Because of the rate of speed and the size difference between the two vehicles, the driver of the smaller car sustained significant injuries and out of pocket costs.

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Speeding, Car Accidents, Injury LawyerSpeeding is one of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. More than 10,000 deaths each year are attributable to accidents in which one or more of the drivers was speeding. In terms of economic impact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the cost of accidents caused by speeding at more than $40 billion a year.

There are 34 states that have maximum speed limits of 70 mph or higher for motor vehicles. Although the highest posted speed limits in California of 70 mph speed are restricted to rural interstate highways and limited access roads, a new report linking speeding and motor vehicle accident fatalities offers evidence that drivers in populated urban areas, such as Oakland and San Jose, are ignoring posted speed restrictions.

California cities lead the nation in speeding fatalities

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eggshell plaintiff rule CaliforniaA California woman was awarded more than $2.8 million by a jury as compensation for past and future damages for injuries she suffered in a car accident. The verdict appears to rely on a legal doctrine known as the “eggshell plaintiff rule.” Although generations of budding attorneys have learned about the rule in law school, its significance in personal injury cases is oftentimes lost to anyone who has not been subjected to a professor’s lecture about it in a first-year torts class.  It is still a useful and practical argument for party’s who have pre-existing medical conditions who suffer emotional or physical harm due to negligence.  Such was the case here.

An admission of liability and a concession by the defense

The defendant in the Sacramento case admitted that she was at fault in causing the car accident in which her vehicle hit the passenger side of a car driven by the 26-year-old plaintiff. Both sides in the case agreed that the speed of the defendant’s car was no more than 15 mph when it struck the plaintiff’s vehicle.

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