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Many California residents have been watching the latest developments from the Amtrak crash near Philadelphia with a great amount of interest. Now one of the conductors who had been at work on the train when it crashed and suffered tremendous injuries has chosen to file a suit against Amtrak, alleging negligence.

The man had been taking a break when the train derailed and crashed. The force of the collision broke the man's back, neck and both shoulders. The injured man was then forced to extricate himself from the debris. Although there were many Amtrak employees on the train, and at least one other has already filed a lawsuit against the rail company, he is the employee believed to have suffered the most severe injuries.

There is no clear consensus at the moment as to what caused the train to crash. The conductor of the train received a concussion in the incident and does not appear to remember what caused the train to suddenly accelerate. Both the Philadelphia Police Department and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have announced their intention to thoroughly investigate the accident.

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A 90-year-old San Jose man accidentally accelerated into a group of patrons and a person walking down the sidewalk outside a Palo Alto sidewalk cafe while trying to parallel park his 2010 Nissan Versa. The driver and all five accident victims were taken to Stanford Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The accident occurred at around 12:30 p.m. on July 31.

Two men, one in his 30s and the other in his 70s, had serious injuries that required surgery. A man in his 20s and a woman in her 60s suffered scrapes, and one man who was in his 30s had a laceration to the head. The driver also suffered an injury that was believed to be related to the airbag in his vehicle.

A section of University Avenue was closed for hours while the Specialized Traffic Accident Team investigated the scene. While it was unclear what caused the crash, police found no immediate signs that alcohol or drugs were involved. At the time of reporting, no charges or citations were levied against the driver.

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At approximately 2 a.m. on July 20, the California Highway Patrol started receiving reports of a wrong-way driver in Rancho Cucamonga on the 210 Freeway. A 28-year-old man from La Habra was traveling west in the eastbound lanes of the freeway. As CHP units began positioning themselves to intervene, the man's vehicle collided with a silver Hyundai that contained four people according to a captain with CHP.

The 60-year-old driver of the Hyundai and his 56-year-old wife were seriously injured in the accident and transported to Loma Linda University Medical Center. The wife had been released as of July 21. The two passengers in the backseat of the Hyundai, a 38-year-old woman from Fontana and a 52-year-old woman visiting from London, were killed in the crash. Both women were related to the driver and his wife. The wrong-way driver also died in the wreck.

Troopers suspected the group was returning from a family reunion. The entire eastbound side of the 210 Freeway near Day Boulevard was closed down until 7:30 a.m.

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Did you know that Route 5 in Orange County is considered to be one of the most travelled bridges in California, with more than 320,000 cars travelling across its deck every day? But as you can imagine, all of this use must be putting considerable strain on the bridge, which is why we pose this question to our readers: should Californians be worried about our state’s bridges?

The answer is yes and here’s why. According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly one-tenth of the 607,380 bridges in the National Bridge Inventory are rated as structurally deficient. Although these bridges are not necessarily considered unsafe at this time, without significant maintenance or weight restrictions these bridges can pose a serious risk to the public. And as you may be able to imagine, a bridge collapse here in California would be a catastrophic accident.

An easy answer would be to simply provide the necessary funding to fix the structurally deficient bridges. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. That’s because the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded by revenue from the federal gas tax and pays for road and public transit projects such as bridge repair, is losing money at about $20 billion a year. Trustees say that because the gas tax has not been raised since 1993, the fund is no longer able to sufficiently match construction costs.

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The family of a former high school football player may be feeling a sense of injustice this month because of a decision that was handed down by a Los Angeles jury recently. The complaint before the Los Angeles Superior Court was against Riddell Inc., a company that manufactures safety helmets for sports players. The plaintiffs sought damages for the injuries the helmet failed to prevent.

According to the complaint, which was filed on behalf of the victim by his father, the helmet his son was wearing in a 2009 football game did not have special forehead padding that may have prevented the then 17-year-old from suffering a traumatic brain injury. The injury caused his son to lose consciousness shortly after leaving the field. He spent 11 days in a coma and needed to be hospitalized for 4 ½ months. The lawsuit contends that he will require around-the-clock care for the rest of his life.

But despite the fact that the now 21-year-old is partially paralyzed and unable to utter simple words, according to the Los Angeles Times, the jury denied the victim and his family the $37 million in compensation they sought in their personal injury lawsuit. According to court records, the jury may have ruled in favor of Ridell Inc. because of the violent way in which the teen’s head turned in the head-to-head collision. The jury may have also believed that no additional amount of padding could have prevented such an injury from occurring.

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John J. Garvey, III
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