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People who operate heavy machinery as part of their job typically receive extensive training on the equipment to avoid injuries and mistakes in their work. As soon as an accident happens, an employer typically tries to determine whether it was caused by an operator error or a problem with the machine. It's the first step in deciding who or what was at fault for the accident.

Two heads of a San Francisco, California, printing shop are currently facing criminal charges in connection with the death of a worker more than three years ago. The CEO and pressroom manager are charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and felony labor code violation.

The charges stem from the 2008 death of a pregnant worker in her 20s. The Oakland woman apparently leaned into a cutting and creasing machine to set it up for its next job. The machine started suddenly, and the bottom plate rose up and crushed the woman's body. She died at the scene.

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When you send your child off for some fun away from home, whom do you hold responsible if something goes wrong? That was the central issue in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a San Jose, California, boy who died during a trip to Alaska.

The parents of the 12-year-old were at first concerned about the trip two summers ago, but decided to allow him to go with a trusted family friend. Unfortunately, the boy died in an SUV operated by a drunk driver who made a wrong turn and drove straight into a river. The driver, who escaped the vehicle unharmed along with two other passengers, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, DUI and failure to insure his vehicle, and was sentenced to prison.

But the parents didn't place all the blame on the driver. They held their friend responsible for their son's death, which happened after a bonfire party where all of the adults drank, smoked marijuana and fired guns, according to police and court documents. Sometime after midnight the group split up into two vehicles. The family friend said he put the boy in the SUV with another driver because with intermittent rain, he thought the boy would be more comfortable than in the friend's pickup truck. Hours after the fatal crash into the river, the driver of the SUV registered a blood alcohol level of .083, just over the legal driving limit.

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The loss of a child is an incomparable tragedy, as any parent who has outlived a son or daughter can attest. When that death is caused by an accident that could have been prevented, it can be all the more difficult to endure.

The parents of a 15-year-old California boy who was fatally struck by a truck are suing the driver, claiming he was negligent when he hit the boy in October. The wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit seeks to reclaim medical expenses along with wage loss, funeral and burial costs and other expenses. But the suit also specifies the couple has "been deprived of the love, companionship, affection, society, protection services and support" of their son.

The flatbed truck struck the teen boy while he was walking in a crosswalk. His parents allege that the truck driver was not only negligent, but violated a variety of statutes, codes and ordinances. Their attorney said he received reports that the driver was going 50 mph at the time of the crash. He wasn't found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, nor was he using a cellphone at the time. Nevertheless, the family's lawyers said, the driver caused "great mental, physical and nervous pain and suffering."

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When someone dies as a result of another person's negligence, a lawsuit often follows. Family members of the victims understandably want some form of justice for the person who caused their death. If more than one person was killed, the person accused of negligence can face multiple wrongful death lawsuits. But what happens when that person was among those who died?

A plane crash blamed on pilot error has resulted in no less than four lawsuits filed against the pilot's estate. Although the plane showed no signs of mechanical problems before it took off last year from the Palo Alto airport, the pilot was warned twice by the air traffic controller that the runway wasn't visible, "so it's at your own risk." The pilot responded with an "OK" and proceeded to take off. The plane then hit an electrical tower and power lines and crashed in the front yard of a home in a residential neighborhood. The pilot died along with his two passengers, who were his work colleagues.

The families of the two passengers filed lawsuits, as did two insurance companies. A fourth lawsuit was filed by the family whose yard the plane crashed into. The couple who own the house said they were traumatized, having to climb over a tall back fence with their two small grandchildren to escape the danger of the wreckage. They say they've sought medical and psychological treatment as a result.

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Last month, a man went on a shooting rampage in the salon where his ex-wife worked. Driven by what many believe was anger over a custody dispute, he shot and killed eight individuals in and around the salon. Though he has already been criminally charged, he has also been named in several wrongful death lawsuits.

The first lawsuit was filed by the family of the man's ex-wife. She had been styling a friend's hair when the shooting occurred. Her family, mourning their loss, is seeking compensation for their loss as well as to help with some of the expenses that have arisen suddenly.

The family of another victim of the shootings has also sued the man for the wrongful death of their loved one. The victim had been getting her hair done when the man burst into the salon. She was the second person shot in the rampage and, according to her husband, suffered much pain in the moments before her death.

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While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.

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John J. Garvey, III
10 Almaden Blvd, #1220
San Jose, CA 95113
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