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After any fatal crash, the first question that is usually asked is whether compensation can be sought against the liable driver. Some of our San Jose readers may have asked similar questions about the crash that happened north of us near Orland. The crash involved a FedEx truck and a tour bus carrying high school students on their way to Humboldt State University in Northern California. But when the FedEx truck crossed the center median, slamming into the tour bus, the resulting crash caused both vehicles to burst into flames, killing both drivers, three adults and five students.

Now, the first of potentially many personal injury lawsuits has been filed against FedEx by the mother of one of the victims. According to her wrongful death claim, the crash could have been avoided if FedEx had maintained its vehicles better. She claims that truck was on fire prior to the collision that killed her daughter -- a problem that the package delivery company has had a history of with other vehicles. But the woman claims that the company has not done anything to remedy this problem, which some are considering to be negligent.

On behalf of her daughter, the woman is seeking $100 million in compensation in attempt to not only hold FedEx accountable for its negligence but to prevent a similar accident from happening again to another family. And because California does not have any cap of damages in tort cases such as this, it’s possible that the settlement amount may not be decreased.

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While the family of a 22-year-old California man are grieving their loss this month, investigators with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department are looking into the events that led up to the young adult's death. In the end, the driver responsible for hitting the 22-year-old bicyclist may be considered negligent, which begs the question: could a wrongful death claim soon follow?

Some of our readers here in Santa Clara may not have heard about the fatal bicycle accident that happened this month in San Marcos. According to police, the 47-year-old driver of a cement truck had briefly stopped at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Las Posas Road before making a right turn. Unfortunately though, at this very moment, the 22-year-old was trying to cross the street on his bicycle. The collision with the large commercial vehicle caused fatal injuries from which the bicyclist died.

Although news reports indicate that the bicyclist may not have had the right-of-way at the intersection, it's possible to argue that neither did the truck driver who, according to reports, had a red light at the time of the collision. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers are supposed to yield right-of-way to pedestrians crossing roadways, even if they are not in a marked crosswalk. Provided the pedestrian also heeds caution to the traffic around them and does not suddenly move into traffic, a driver must exercise caution and slow their vehicle.

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Behind every tragic drunk-driving accident there is a victim; and behind every victim, there is a story. For a deadly crash in Fremont recently, the story was that of a 23-year-old Union City Marine. And although his family and friends are likely still grieving their loss, his story will not be soon forgotten and will stand as a reminder to everyone in California about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Just days ago, in Fremont, the Marine lance corporal was riding his motorcycle shortly after 1 a.m. when he was suddenly struck by a drunk driver who had failed to yield the right of way at an intersection. Reports indicate that the drunk driver was fleeing from police at a high rate of speed when he collided with the 23-year-old soldier who died at the scene.

Sources say that the Marine had recently returned home from a tour in Afghanistan, which is considered to be one of the more dangerous warzones for U.S. troops. But for this particular soldier, the danger did not lie overseas but rather back here in California. Even though we know that drunk driving can lead to serious -- if not fatal -- accidents, people all across the nation continue to make the bad decision of driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately for the marine’s family and friends, this fact became personal this month.

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The question in this week's post title comes to us courtesy of a story out of Florida where a freak car accident killed a 33-year-old man and injured a 45-year-old man. And although the accident occurred far from residents here in San Jose, California, we wanted to highlight the accident in this week's post because it raises important questions about liability and who is at fault in an accident like this.

According to reports, a man was driving his vehicle northbound on U.S. 41 when his left front tire broke free from his car. After hitting a driveway apron, the tire flew into the air, clearing a 6-foot-tall fence before landing on the 33-year-old man. He was killed instantly. The tire then hit the 45-year-old man who was airlifted to a hospital, having suffered serious injuries.

So who is to blame for this fatal accident? Who should be held liable for the death and injuries this accident caused?

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Most of our San Jose readers are probably used to seeing wrongful death lawsuits most commonly associated with fatal accidents, such as car accidents or motorcycle accidents, where a death occurred due to one party's negligence. However, one wrongful death claim that was recently filed against the city of Modesto and the Modesto Police Department arose under much different circumstances.

According to the reports, the incident in question in the lawsuit occurred back over the course of the late evening hours of June 21 and into the early morning hours of June 22. The reports indicate that a young mother, a 26-year-old Modesto resident, died in her home after she set fire to the residence. As sad as that sounds, it appears that the lawsuit is alleging that the death of this young woman should have been prevented.

It seems that police officers responded to this woman's home after she placed a call to 911. After the law enforcement officials arrived at the scene and evaluated the situation, which the reports indicate included seeing the woman holding a knife and, in general, acted distraught, the decision was made to remove the woman's 4-year-old daughter from the situation. But, the biggest mistake that the lawsuit alleges was made by the authorities was to leave the 26-year-old mother alone at the scene afterward. The fire at the woman's residence started shortly thereafter.

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