Archive for July, 2013

Jul 2013

Tow Truck Driver Lacking Proper License Accused in Fatal Wreck

Our Irvine car accident lawyers know that there are many illegal tow truck companies operating in the Southern California area. These companies respond to client calls for tows and drive large trucks that are made even larger when a distressed vehicle is attached to the back. 

Unfortunately, NBC Los Angeles reports that a driver involved with one of these so-called “bandit” companies was recently responsible for a fatal car accident. The deadly crash occurred when the driver of the flatbed tow truck reportedly sped through a red light in the downtown area of Los Angeles. The driver was going as fast as 60 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, crashing into a metro bus and setting in motion a chain of events that led to the death of the bus driver.

Tragic Accident Caused by Unlicensed Tow Truck Driver

When the unlicensed driver of the flatbed tow truck ran through a red light at 60 miles per hour, the truck pushed the metro bus into a fire hydrant. As a result, a geyser of water was sent into the air and the intersection became flooded. The bus driver, a 47-year-old Montebello woman, was the only one who was on the metro bus at the time of the accident. The bus driver was found face down in the water that flooded the intersection. She subsequently died at the hospital.

The driver of the tow truck was also injured in the crash and was listed in critical condition. The tow truck not only hit the metro bus but also slammed through the front entry area of a local convenience store.  The losses and property damage caused by this tow truck driver’s decision to run the red light thus extended both to the wrongful death of the metro bus driver and to the destruction of the local convenience store.

NBC Los Angeles reports that the tow truck driver appears to have owned the tow truck company whose truck he was driving at the time of the crash. However, the driver did not have a Motor Carrier Permit to allow him to operate legally in the state. Furthermore, while he had once had a Class C commercial driver’s license, that license had been suspended since 2009. Thus, he was running an unlicensed tow truck company without a valid license to even drive a tow truck much less to operate a towing business.

The tow truck driver also had a history of run-ins with the police as well as a record of speeding. It seems clear that the driver had taken dangerous risks in the past and it also seems clear that the tow drunk driver was the one to blame for this recent accident.

This should mean that the surviving family members of the metro bus driver who was killed should be able to take legal action to recover wrongful death damages. Of course, since the tow truck driver was operating a business without proper licensing and driving without a proper license, it is unclear whether he will have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for the costs and losses in a wrongful death claim.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Irvine, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.

Elevator Accident Leads to Death in New California Stadium Under Construction

Recently, NBC Bay Area reported on the tragic death of a 63-year-old man who was working on an elevator at the new Levi’s Field. The new stadium under construction is expected to be the home stadium for the San Francisco 49ers when it is completed. Tragically, however, it is now the site of an accident where an elevator caused an untimely death. 

Our Irvine personal injury lawyers know that elevator accidents can happen both in buildings under construction and in completed buildings where elevators are not properly cared for or maintained. Whenever an elevator accident occurs, it is important for the accident victims or their surviving family members to have an understanding of their legal rights so they can pursue a claim for compensation against those responsible for their injuries.

Tragic Elevator Accident Leads to Wrongful Death

According to NBC Bay Area, the recent fatal elevator accident occurred when the elevator mechanic was standing on a ladder that was positioned beneath the elevator’s counter-weight. The elevator was not a temporary elevator but instead was a permanent elevator that would be used once the stadium opened for business.

The counter-weight of the elevator came down and struck the worker, causing his death. More than 1,000 other workers were sent home after the tragic accident. The company that employed the deceased elevator mechanic was serving as a subcontractor for the main building contractor and expressed the company’s sadness.

A spokesperson for the company indicated that they had been manufacturing elevators and escalators since 1874 and that they were very committed to the safety of the public.  However, the company has been fined in the past as a result of workplace safety violations, including those that were described as leading to a “serious accident.” As such, it is unclear whether the company actually was following all appropriate safety rules.

Taking Legal Action in Elevator Accident Claims

The accident in this case could be classified as a work injury because the mechanic was an employee at the time. This would mean that the surviving family members of the deceased elevator mechanic would need to pursue a workers compensation claim. However, if there was any third party non-employer responsible, a wrongful death claim could also be brought against the person or company whose negligence caused the elevator accident to occur.

If the elevator accident had happened once the stadium was open for business and if a member of the general public was killed by an elevator disaster, then the case could be handled under either premises liability rules or product liability rules.

If the accident was caused by poor elevator maintenance on the part of the building owner or operator, this would be a premises liability claim and the building owner could be made to pay for losses. If the problem was with the elevator or its parts, on the other hand, then the elevator manufacturer could be held strictly liable. This would mean the injured victim could sue the elevator manufacturer for all injuries resulting from the product defect, regardless of whether a showing of negligence could be made.

If you’ve been injured and need an accident attorney in Irvine, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707 today for your free case evaluation.