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San Jose Personal Injury Law Blog

Man killed in suspected DUI collision

On April 7, a San Jose man was killed in a car accident that may have been caused by a drunk driver. According to authorities, the man was driving in the northbound lanes of Highway 101 in a Ford Taurus when a 2011 Nissan pickup rear-ended him. The pickup then reportedly left the scene of the crime by taking the Great America Parkway exit. The collision left the Taurus stalled on the highway.

Following the initial accident, the driver of a 2008 Ford pickup came across the stalled vehicle; however, he was unable to avoid striking the Taurus. The impact of the collision caused the Taurus to travel across multiple lanes of the freeway before striking a wall. The vehicle then caught fire. The vehicle was reportedly fully engulfed in flames when the rescue authorities arrived at the scene, killing the 37-year-old driver.

Man killed, woman critically injured in California crash

A 44-year-old man was killed and a woman was critically injured in a two-vehicle accident near Santa Cruz on March 28. The crash occurred at approximately 2 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities said a 1991 Ford F-150 pickup truck was driving northbound on Empire Grade Road north of Llama Ranch Road when it crossed the double yellow lines into southbound traffic and struck an oncoming 2001 Chevrolet van near the north entrance to the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Safety concerns over the increased use of mechanical scaffolding

California residents may have noticed that the number of high-rise construction projects being undertaken in the stare has increased recently as the economy slowly recovers from the 2008 financial crisis. Many of these projects use scaffolding systems that are raised or lowered mechanically because they are simple to put into place and relatively easy to dismantle after the work has been completed. However, the systems were developed after OSHA implemented its scaffolding safety rules, and some safety experts feel that protocols should be updated in light of the new technology.

Mast-climbers are platforms that are raised or lowered after being attached towers connected to the wall of a building, and they are often used by window installers or masons to perform finishing work. However, the systems are complex to use, and workers require specialized training before they are able to operate them safely. Some observers have speculated that a lack of this type of training may have contributed to a March 2015 construction accident in North Carolina that claimed the lives of three Latino construction workers.

Spinal cord injuries caused by car accidents

Any California driver who becomes involved in a car crash is at risk for suffering a severe back or spinal cord injury. These types of injuries, which are often permanent, can result in the loss of movement or sensation in the arms and legs. If the injury is severe enough, the injured person may even lose the ability to control their bodily functions.

It is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide suffer a spinal cord injury every year. Men are at least twice as likely than women to suffer a spinal cord injury; while men mostly risk injury when they are between ages 20 to 29 and 70 or older, women are most at risk during the ages 15 to 19 and when they are 60 years and older.

Head-on crash claims life of 13-year-old girl

A major crash in California claimed the life of a 13-year-old girl. The accident happened on March 14 in Madera County on Highway 41.

According to law enforcement authorities, a 70-year-old man driving a pickup truck crossed the centerline of the highway, striking an oncoming sedan head-on. The 13-year-old girl was reportedly riding in the backseat of the sedan. She succumbed to her injuries. A 19-year-old woman who was also riding in the car suffered injuries reported as major. She had to be extricated from the vehicle by emergency personnel. The sedan's 48-year-old driver also suffered injuries characterized as major.

California teens multitask while driving

Distracted driving impacts the risk of auto accidents regardless of the age of the driver, but a study has indicated that teenage drivers may be dismissing the risks associated with multitasking while driving. Though the study suggested that teenagers recognize that texting and driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol could cause an accident, many did not observe the same potential for danger in other behaviors.

According to one report, any behavior that causes a driver to look away from the road could be considered a form of distracted driving, including talking on a cellphone, eating, changing radio stations or actively using a GPS system. The findings of the research stated that 27 percent of the adolescents admitted to changing clothes while driving. Some claimed to have applied make-up or tended to a homework assignment. A lack of available resources for educating youths on what constitutes distracted driving could be one of the contributing factors to this trend.

California head-on collision kills one, injures another

A head-on collision on Highway 1 near Lompoc left one man dead and another seriously hurt on March 10. The crash happened at approximately 6:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities said a man driving to work in a Toyota Tacoma drifted over the double-yellow line and collided head-on with a Chevrolet Silverado just south of Jalama Road. The Toyota driver, a 32-year-old man from Lynwood, died at the scene. The Chevrolet driver, a 33-year-old man from Lompoc, was trapped in his vehicle following the accident. A representative of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department reported on Twitter that it took 30 minutes to free him. He was transported to Cottage Hospital with major injuries.

DUI suspected in fatal crash that killed 4 young people

The California Highway Patrol and Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office were on the scene of a deadly accident that occurred in the community of Aptos at about 8 p.m. on March 1. Alcohol bottles were found at the scene of the crash, and DUI is a possible factor in a fatal head-on collision in which the 22-year-old driver of a Mercedes was killed. There were seven people in the vehicle designed to seat five, and none of the occupants were wearing a seat belt according to authorities. A 19-year-old woman and 18-year-old man riding in the front seat along with a 16-year-old girl riding in the back seat were all pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident happened when the westbound driver of the Mercedes was allegedly driving recklessly on Freedom Boulevard. He suddenly crossed into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 56-year-old man. According to a spokesperson for the CHP, the driver suffered severe injuries and remained hospitalized at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center the following day. There were no passengers in the pickup truck.

Alcohol-fueled crash results in 4 deaths

California Highway Patrol confirmed that four people were killed in a head-on collision on March 1. The fatal motor vehicle accident took place on a rural road in Santa Cruz County at about 8 p.m. According to CHP reports, the driver of a black Mercedes sedan entered the path of oncoming traffic and struck a gray Ford F-150 head on.

Following the crash, firefighters had to tear the Mercedes apart in order to free some of the injured victims. The 22-year-old driver of the Mercedes and two of his teenage passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. Another teenage passenger in the Mercedes was pronounced dead after being rushed to the hospital. Three other Mercedes passengers and the 56-year-old driver of the Ford were treated at the hospital for injuries.

What to do after a California car accident

Individuals who have been involved in a car accident are obligated to stop and call the proper authorities. If anyone involved in the accident has been injured, someone must make an effort to provide reasonable assistance. This may include calling 911, taking that person to the hospital or rendering first aid. To ensure that safety of those involved in the accident and other motorists, it may be worthwhile to place warning cones or flares at the scene.

Although state law says that those involved should render aid to injured car accident victims, they should only do so under certain circumstances. For example, it may only be safe to pull someone from a car before it becomes engulfed in flames. However, if the car is already on fire, it may be more prudent to simply call 911 and wait for help. Outside help may consist of first responders or it may involve other passing motorists.

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John J. Garvey III

Attorney John J. Garvey, III

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