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One in Ten Highway Deaths Caused By Collision With Big Rig

Most of the highway deaths involving large truck collisions are of occupants in passenger vehicles. Occupants of smaller vehicles are extremely vulnerable because they must share the road with large trucks. Many trucks weigh 25-30 times as much as an average car and are much taller. The problem is that a smaller car following behind a huge truck risks an underride collision with the truck.

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Factors in Big Rig Collisions

The length of time it takes a fully loaded tractor-trailer to brake is one factor contributing to big rig collisions. It can take them 20% - 40% farther that it takes an average car to stop, and even farther if the road is wet or the brakes haven’t been properly maintained.

Another factor is truck driver fatigue. Federal law stipulates that drivers operating large trucks can drive no more than 11 hours in one stretch and no more than 77 hours in a week’s time. However, surveys suggest that many drivers ignore the law and drive for longer periods of time, which causes them to become overly fatigued.  

Truck Accident Fatality Statistics
Courtesy IIHS

Where Collisions With Trucks Happen

A study on fatal collisions in 2015 that involved large trucks provided the following statistics:

  • 53% occurred on major roads rather than on freeways and/or interstate highways
  • 30% occurred on freeways and/or interstate highways
  • 14% occurred on smaller, less traveled roads

Large Truck Collisions Compared to Passenger Vehicle Collisions

In 2015, over half of occupant deaths in large trucks occurred in collisions that caused their truck to roll over. This percentage was similar to the occupant fatalities in SUVs and pickup trucks that rolled over in crashes. Interestingly, those percentages were much higher than the 23% of occupant deaths that occurred in car rollovers.

Trucking Accident
Trucking Accident

Drunk Driving Has Subsided

Drivers of large trucks killed in fatal accidents almost never are found to have high levels of blood alcohol concentrations (BACs). Truck drivers are under very strict regulations by the government regarding drinking and driving. Only 3% of truck drivers killed in fatal collisions in 2015 showed a BAC level at or above 0.08%. That is far lower than the figure in 1982, which was 51%, so it is apparent that the trucking regulations in place now for drinking and driving are having the desired effect.

At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley we have over 50 years of experience. We have the expertise and a proven track record of success in personal injury lawIf you or a loved one has been the victim of trucking or big rig accident and would like to speak with an attorney, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

(Source: IIHS)

Published on behalf of O'Connor, Runckel & O'Malley LLP

 

O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley LLP 2017 Scholarship Recipient

O’Connor, Runckel and O’Malley LLP would like to announce our 2017 scholarship recipient, Jordyn Sequeira. Jordyn graduated Cum Laude from Arizona State University and is currently in her second year of law school at University of San Francisco. Throughout her first year of law school Jordyn exhibited a strong commitment to social justice, consistently volunteering through the USF’s ProBono Programs. Jordyn worked various clean slate clinics, where she provided free legal assistance to people who suffer from the collateral consequences of having criminal records. Over the summer she served as a legal intern in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. After she graduates she plans to continue to dedicate her time to battling social injustices.

Jordyn Sequeira
Jordyn Sequeira

 

We wish Jordyn continued success at UCSF School of Law.

Car Slams Into Three Children Walking in Oakland Crosswalk

OAKLAND, CA – A surveillance camera picked up the horrific sight of a car slamming into three innocent children in Oakland crossing the street using the crosswalk. Neighborhood residents are demanding changes.

The footage clearly shows the collision sending two teenaged girls into the air, while the little boy that was crossing with them is pulled under the car and dragged.

The accident occurred on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at about 9:30 p.m. in the intersection of Brookdale and Fruitvale Avenues in Oakland.

Residents in the neighborhood report similar accidents happening in the past. They are calling for the city to install blinking lights in the crosswalk.

It is painful to watch the video of the accident. It shows the car being driven by a young person hitting the children as they crossed the street in the crosswalk, causing the girls to fly into the air and the toddler being pinned under the car.

The accident occurred right outside Mark Legaspi’s Filipino restaurant, so his surveillance cameras videotaped the whole tragic event. 

Pedestrian Accident
Pedestrian Accident


“Everyone was scrambling to help,” relayed Legaspi. “The baby was being dragged along under the car. Let’s save that baby!”

It was a miracle that all three kids survived this horrific accident.

One of the teenaged girls and her little brother, who were injured in the accident, are cousins of the other girl that was hit by the car. 

They were walking home the night of the accident. They were careful, looking both ways before entering the crosswalk and just assumed the car would come to a stop and let them cross.

Just before being hit, the girls could be seen bracing for impact.

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Legaspi reported that this is the third time pedestrians have been hit in the crosswalk in the last three years. This is not counting the number of car crashes that have occurred in the same intersection.

“Surprisingly, no one has been killed,” Legaspi said. “However, I’ve witnessed three pets getting run over and killed right here.”

He blames distracted drivers speeding through the interaction for the accidents. Legaspi did contact Noel Gallo, the City Councilman for this area, requesting something be done to make the crosswalk easier for drivers to see.

“They probably have to send people out to study the road because we have had so many accidents here,” said Gallo. “But this time I think it’s a no-brainer that something has to be done.”

Gallo said he heard that these three victims have already been released from the hospital and are recovering at home.

Witnesses described the driver as stopping at the scene of the accident and being remorseful. They said he carried a passport, so was obviously from another country, and admitted that he had not been issued a California driver’s license.

It has not yet been reported whether the driver did have a valid driver’s license or if the police placed him under arrest. 

At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley we have 50 years of litigation and trial experience. We have the expertise and a proven track record of success in personal injury lawIf you or a loved one has been the victim of motor vehicle negligence and would like to speak with a Bay Area auto accident attorney, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

Charges Filed in Death of Resident of Independent Living Facility

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – After an investigation by the California Department of Justice the owner of Manse on Marsh along with a former employee have been arrested in connection with the wrongful death of one of the independent living facility’s residents.

The Attorney General’s Office of the State of California filed charges on July 19, 2017 against Christopher Skiff, 54, and Gary Potts, 63, for involuntary manslaughter and dependent adult and elderly abuse. Investigators maintain that these men knowingly and willfully put the life of Mauricio Cardenas, 65, in danger, which led to his 2014 death, as alleged in the complaint.

Manse on Marshe Manslaughter
Manse on Marshe Independent Living Facility

“The inquiry was brought about because Cardenas’ death was so odd,” according to a report given in 2015 by Skiff to CalCoastNews. “Law enforcement and our own District Attorney absolved us both of any criminal wrong doing.”

On December 21, 2014, Cardenas was trying to cross Los Osos Valley Rd. in Los Osos when a 2010 Dodge Challenger hit and ultimately killed him. Ricardo Serafin, 26, was driving the Challenger at the time. Serafin was determined not to be at fault by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) because the area where Cardenas was trying to cross was in complete darkness.

The Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud & Elder Abuse got a letter on December 30, 2014 saying, “Cardenas should have never been admitted to the MMALF independent living facility since he had been diagnosed with dementia and MMALF does not have a dementia waiver and therefore is not allowed to house residents with dementia.”

The letter goes on to allege that, as a result, Cardenas never received the proper oversight and care that his condition required.

“The consensus is that if Cardenas had been placed in an appropriate living environment with the proper security precautions his safety could have been looked after and he would not have lost his life,” according to the letter.

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According to CalCoastNews, on March 24, 2015, investigators with California’s Medicare Fraud & Elder Abuse Division raided Manse on March seizing computers and files. Kristin Ford, DOJ Press Secretary, said that a search warrant had been issued, which justified the raid.  

“We will confirm that on March 24, 2015 we served a legal search warrant on the facilities of Manse on March, located in San Luis Obispo,” Ford said in replying to a 2015 email inquiry. “Because this involves an active criminal investigation, we cannot provide any additional information or make any official comments at the present time.”

Manse on March is an independent assisted living community providing seniors with some level of care along with certain amenities. There are 87 apartments situated on the property in three separate buildings.

One resident’s family member reported that once investigators started searching through the facility, Skiff met with residents and staff in a group setting and advised them to consult with an attorney before they spoke to any of the investigators.

Potts was booked into the Smith County Jail in Texas where he remains held without bail. Skiff was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail and released the same day.

The most vulnerable adults among us are often our elderly. Often elderly adults become victims of abuse in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. An estimated 1 to 2 million elderly adults are injured, exploited or mistreated every year. Problems of malnutrition, bedsores, neglect, infections, falls, fractures, dehydration, failure to medicate & monitor, financial abuse, as well as physical, verbal, and sexual abuse exists in many nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

At O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley, we are committed to helping the elderly and their families through these difficult situations. Every person deserves to be safe from harm by those who care for them. If your loved one has suffered abuse in a nursing home, assisted living facility or from in-home care provider, the personal injury attorneys at O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley can help you obtain justice for your loved one. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with an experienced elder abuse attorney.

(Source: Cal Coast News )

Published on behalf of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley LLP

Wrong Way Driver Causes Head-On Collision, Hospitalizing 9

BRENTWOOD, CA – A woman, 72 and a 1-year-old were among 9 people transported to area hospitals when a stolen car going the wrong way plowed head-on into a van on Highway 4 in Brentwood, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP said that the crash was called in just after 8 p.m. Saturday night. The accident occurred on Highway 4 right at Sand Creek Rd. in Brentwood.

Earlier that day, Concord police got a report that a gold 1994 Honda Accord was stolen. This was the car that was going the wrong way, speeding east on the westbound lanes of Hwy. 4, the CHP said in a statement issued on Sunday.   

The wrong-way car sped past a number of other vehicles before it crashed into a 2015 Honda Odyssey van driving westbound at Sand Creek Rd. carrying seven people, the CHP said.

Wrong Way Driver
Wrong Way Driver

CHP officials said that 9 people were taken to a local hospital. All occupants of the van were from San Francisco and transported to John Muir Medical Center, which is in Walnut Creek.

A 61-year-old woman suffered major injuries, but has since been stabilized. A 30-year-old driver was moderately injured. Four passengers sustained minor injuries: two girls, ages 10 and 2 and two women, ages 72 and 34. A baby just 1 year old appeared to have no injuries, but was transported to the hospital anyway as a precaution.

The Accord was carrying a 22-year-old passenger who suffered major injuries and was transported to Dublin’s Eden Hospital and is now in stable condition, according to the CHP.

The 24-year-old wrong-way driver was identified as Rafael Duarte of Oakley. He was treated at John Muir Medical Center for minor injuries before being arrested for alleged felony drunk driving, operating a vehicle without a license, possession of a stolen car, driving with no insurance, and going the wrong way on a highway, causing injury. He was booked at Martinez Detention Facility upon discharge from the hospital.

Each year in the United States, wrong-way driver crashes kill 300 to 400 people on average. This represents approximately 1% of the total annual number of traffic related fatalities. It may be a tiny percentage overall, but since crashes involving wrong-way drivers are usually head-on or high-speed sideswipes coming from the opposite direction, they tend to be a lot more serious than other types of collisions.

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Wrong Way collisions are inevitable when someone enters a freeway or controlled-access highway on an exit ramp going the wrong way, or when drivers make maneuvers that cause them to drive the wrong way or in the wrong direction. Collisions involving wrong-way drivers are definitely a problem on our highways. They may be infrequent, but the consequences for the people involved in these crashes are far more serious than those resulting from other types of traffic accidents.

If you or a family member has been in a traffic accident involving motor vehicle negligence and want to speak to a reputable Bay Area attorney who specializes in auto accidents, please contact O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley Attorneys at Law. We will answer all your questions, explain your legal rights and how best to protect them.