Archives for : December2013

Man In Wheelchair Struck, Killed By Delivery Truck

When a vehicle and a pedestrian collide, the injuries can be serious or fatal for either party, but this is especially true for the pedestrian. Without the protection of a metal frame such as car, injuries to the head, neck and other parts of the body are a real possibility. This is why both pedestrians and drivers need to pay close attention to their surroundings and make sure everyone sees each other so accidents can be prevented.

A recent truck accident in Napa claimed the life of an 88-year-old man in an electric wheelchair. The man was traveling on the south side of a delivery truck when the truck attempted to make a turn and struck the man. The truck was turning out of a restaurant driveway and onto northbound Main Street. The driveway crosses the sidewalk.

The driver of the delivery truck did not seem to be impaired according to police. The accident is still under investigation. One thing that investigators might be looking into is whether or not the truck was able to see the man in the motorized wheelchair. Another point of the investigation could be whether speed was a factor. Police are requesting that anyone who might have witnessed the accident to contact them to help with the investigation.

It is too soon to determine who might have been at fault, but in the event the truck driver is found to have caused the accident, the family members of the man who was killed could seek compensation for the deceased man. An experienced legal professional could explain what rights to damages the family might have, such as medical and final expenses and loss of companionship, and explain the process of attaining those funds.

Source: Press Democrat, “Napa pedestrian struck by Sonoma County delivery truck” Kevin McCallum, Dec. 20, 2013

3 People Injured In 4-car Wreck On The 101

Driving in rush-hour traffic can be a stressful event. Whether traffic is flowing at a fast clip with cars weaving between lanes to get to exits, or it’s at a standstill, getting to a destination can be a challenge. It is also a time when many accidents occur, some of which cause serious injury. A recent accident on the 101 in California is an example of how the commute can go horribly wrong.

A Chevy Silverado driven by a 44-year-old man abruptly changed lanes and was unprepared for the slower traffic in the other lane. The truck struck a Dodge Ram, driven by a 70-year-old man. The Ram then struck and drove onto a S-10 pickup in front of it. A fourth vehicle, only identified as a Ford truck, was also involved.

The driver of the Silverado received minor injuries, as did the 33-year-old driver of the S-10. However, the driver of the Ram, though he did not seem to sustain serious injuries from the accident, suffered a medical emergency after the accident. According to witnesses, emergency workers were seen administering CPR on the man after he was removed from his vehicle.

The accident is still under investigation. One of the questions investigators want answered is why the driver of the Silverado, who was the only occupant of the truck, was in the car pool lane to begin with. Also, what made the man change lanes so abruptly? Investigators will piece together the accident, speak to all the drivers involved and interview any witnesses to the accident. This information will help determine if any citations need to be given.

Those who suffer losses because of the actions of another have the right to seek compensation. A legal professional experienced with such situations can detail what compensation is available and help a person decide if pursuing damages is the right course of action.

Source: Press Democrat, “Four-car wreck clogs Highway 101, sends three to hospital” Kevin McCallum, Dec. 18, 2013

Sonoma County Traffic Tickets Down, Various Reasons Offered

An interesting trend has developed in Sonoma County; the number of traffic violations resulting in tickets has decreased. According to the Sonoma County Superior Court, tickets are down a shocking 30 percent for the first half of 2013, compared to the same period for the previous year. Considering one of the reasons law enforcement stops people for driving violations is to prevent car accidents, less tickets would seem to be good news. However, the reasons for the decline of tickets are many and varied.

One reason offered is that drivers don’t want to pay the high cost of a ticket and are doing things to prevent getting one. These might include slowing down and stopping a stop signs and red lights. In 2013, an improper turn violation could cost the ticketed driver $243, while driving 26 mph over the posted speed limit would equate to a $480 ticket. So for some, a ticket that could take a large portion of a paycheck isn’t worth it. Also a study showed a correlation between those who have received tickets and traffic accidents. In short, those who have received tickets are more likely to improve their driving habits in the hopes of avoiding future tickets.

Another reason law enforcement posits is that their education programs are working. People are more aware of the dangers of reckless behavior while behind the wheel and are refraining from taking part in these activities. Also since Highway 101 has been undergoing construction for quite some time, that could play a part in the decrease in tickets as well.

A less positive, though still plausible explanation for the decrease, could be the fact there are less law enforcement officers on the streets. Petaluma’s police force is lower than it was several years ago, which means there are less officers on the roads to pull driver’s over.

Regardless of the reason, less tickets could equate to less accidents, which is a good thing for everyone on the roads in Sonoma County. However, accidents have not gone away completely. For those who find themselves victims of an accident, the option to seek compensation for property damage, medical expenses and other economic or non-economic damages exists. Speaking to an experienced legal professional can help a person determine if seeking damages is the best course of action.

Source: Petaluma 360, “Sonoma County drivers slowing down” Paul Payne, Nov. 25, 2013

HGTV Host Killed In Northern California Motorcycle Crash

A 38-year-old carpenter known by viewers of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” show was killed in San Francisco when the motorcycle he was riding was struck by a car. Condolences have been pouring in for Bill Beckwith, who was in the city’s Lower Haight area when the fatal motorcycle crash occurred.

On the home improvement show, which is no longer in production, Beckwith helped re-do the exterior of a different house each episode. According to the HGTV website, his love of carpentry went back to his childhood. Among his many passions was also a love of motorcycles.

Ironically, Beckwith was involved in another traffic accident in October, according to a post he made on Facebook. He briefly discussed a head-on collision involving his truck, and he said it was a “solid reminder that our lives can change at any instant.”

According to a report by NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate, Beckwith was taken to the hospital after the motorcycle accident, where he died from head injuries. That same reports says that the driver of the other vehicle is cooperating with authorities who are investigating the accident. Although reportedly the driver of the car was the one who struck Beckwith, it has not yet been reported whether that driver was at fault in the fatal collision.

Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable drivers on the road. Motorcycle accidents are often fatal for them because they have no vehicle surrounding them for protection. Families of motorcyclists who are injured or killed by a driver who is found to be at fault have every right to seek monetary compensation for medical treatment, lost wages and other damages. Although they will not bring back a loved one, they can help alleviate at least the financial burden of the loss.

Source: CNN, “Bill Beckwith, co-host of HGTV’s ‘Curb Appeal,’ killed in crash” Tom Watkins and Ed Payne, Dec. 04, 2013