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Bicyclist Crushed After Container Slips Off Truck

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The truck driver whose shipping container came loose and fatally crushed a bicyclist from Long Beach in late October 2015 has been charged with vehicular manslaughter

On October 27, 2015 51-year-old Robert Castorena was riding his bicycle on Santa Fe Avenue near the Carson-Long Beach city border. While riding along the right side of the truck, the container on the trailer driven by 50-year-old Wesley Phil Blake slipped off of the trailer, landing on Castorena.

Castorena died as a result of his injuries.

Big Rig Driver Faces Up to 6 Years in Prison

Prosecutors stated that at some point, the big rig driver clipped a railroad bridge which caused the fastening straps to break and the container to become loose. Blake admitted to authorities that he believed that the container was shorter than it actually was.

Blake has been charged with vehicular manslaughter to which he pleaded “not guilty”. If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison.

Why Are Big Rigs So Dangerous

Nearly half a million crashes between semi-trailers and other vehicles occur in the United States every year and approximately 5,000 people are killed as a result. Semi-trailers pose a significant safety risk to everyone on the road because:

1. Big rigs are heavier than cars

Big rigs can be well over ten times the weight of the average passenger vehicle. Because they are larger, they produce a lot more force and can cause a lot more damage than a car.

2. Big rigs are longer than cars

The length of a semi-trailer makes it heavier, more difficult to handle, and it creates more blind spots for the driver.

3. Big rig companies try to cut corners

In an effort to keep costs down, semi-trailer companies will try to save money by:

    • Hiring inexperienced drivers (the less experience, the lower the hourly rate)
      • Providing improper or inadequate semi-truck maintenance
    • Improperly storing cargo (overloaded trailers, improperly balanced freight, etc.)

How the Fox & Fox Law Corp Helps Injured Victims in Sherman Oaks

Fox & Fox Law Corp is proud to have an accomplished team of Sherman Oaks bicycle accident attorneys who are not afraid to go to trial. If you have been injured as a result of a truck crash or another personal injury, we are committed to fighting on your behalf so that you receive maximum compensation for your pain and suffering.

Arrange for your complimentary initial consultation today at (818) 986-4494.

Contaminated Medical Scopes Cause Multiple Deaths

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A man described as an affectionate and funny husband, father and grandfather passed away in August 2013 after contracting a deadly super bug linked to contaminated medical scopes. Now his wife and the hospital where the man received treatment are suing the the company responsible for creating these scopes.

Fifty-seven-year-old Richard Bigler had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment when the scope was used at Seattle’s Virginia Mason Medical Center. He contracted the deadly infection and declined “so rapidly” that neither his wife nor their four children had a chance to say goodbye.

At Least Thirty-Five Patients Affected

Bigler was only one of at least 35 American patients to have died since 2013 after developing infections caused by Olympus duodenoscopes. At that one hospital alone, 39 people were infected by the contaminated scopes and 18 patients died.

Initially Olympus Corp. said that the hospital was at fault as the reusable scopes were not cleaned properly. But an investigation carried out by county, state and federal officials found that Virginia Mason properly followed all cleaning procedures.

Common Questions about Wrongful Death in California

What is considered to be a “wrongful death”?

A “wrongful death” is one which is the result of a person or entity’s negligence or wrongful actions.

Can anyone file a wrongful death claim?

In California, only certain individuals will be able to file a wrongful death claim.

  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the victim
  • The children of the victim
  • Anyone who would be entitled to the property (i.e. parents or siblings)

Can financially dependent individuals file a wrongful death claim?

The following individuals can file a wrongful death claim in California if they can prove that they were financially dependent on the victim:

  • The putative spouse and their children
  • The parents of the victim
  • The step-children of the victim

Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

In California, you have up to two years to file a wrongful death claim. If you have lost a loved one because of a suspected wrongful death in the Los Angeles area, the Sherman Oaks Personal injury attorneys at Fox & Fox Law Corporation can help.

We offer free initial consultations to anyone who wants to discuss their claim and learn if they have a case. We invite you to email us or give us a call today at (818) 986-4494.

Injuries Sustained in Riverside Truck Crash

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All southbound lanes on the 215 Freeway in Riverside were recently shut down after a semi-truck collided with a guardrail and was sent sliding across all lanes.

The northbound semi-truck was towing a trailer in the second lane on the freeway near the Van Buren Boulevard exit. For reasons unknown, the cab veered into the center median when it then crashed into the guardrail and overturned. The trailer continued into the southbound lanes of the freeway.

As the trailer moved across the multiple lanes, four cars were struck.

Truck Driver, Passenger and One Other Driver Injured

One driver who was traveling in the southbound lane and was struck by the truck suffered minor injuries as a result of the collision. The female passenger in the truck suffered moderate injuries and the driver of the truck was taken to the hospital with major injuries.

Thousands of People Die Each Year Because of Semi-trucks

Approximately 5,000 people in passenger vehicles die every year in crashes involving semi trucks, with 64% of them being semi-trucks pulling a trailer. 700 individuals in semi-trucks (drivers and passengers) also die on an annual basis.

Truck crashes occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • Driver fatigue: Truck drivers work long hours and may be sleep deprived which can impair their driving.
  • Distracted driving: Distracted drivers are those who are operating a truck or another vehicle while their hands, vision and/or concentration is no longer focused on their vehicle and on the road.
  • Inexperience: There are a lot of new truck drivers on the road every year. Truck companies will often hire inexperienced drivers as they tend to charge less by the hour than experienced drivers.
  • Improper maintenance of the truck and/or trailer: Federal regulations may state that semi-trucks must be kept in good condition if they are going to be operated. But trucking companies often cut corners by leaving their trucks and trailers poorly maintained.
  • Improper loading: Improperly loaded cargo can result in unequal weight distribution, making the truck difficult to maneuver or it may cause the truck to jack-knife.

Seek Justice with Fox & Fox Injury Attorneys

The Fox and Fox Injury Attorneys in the Sherman Oaks area have the experience necessary to investigate the cause behind a truck crash and we are committed to holding negligent parties accountable.

To speak with a Sherman Oaks truck crash injury attorney at Fox and Fox Law Corp, we invite you to arrange for a free consultation today at (818) 986-4494.

Right of Way Questioned after Highland Car Crash Leaves Dead and Injured

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A fiery car crash in Highland has left four dead and one person in critical condition.

17-year-old Nicolas Luna was returning home from school in a gold Ford Taurus which also held his 83-year-old grandfather, his 8-year-old niece and 7-year-old nephew. Luna turned in front of a silver Acura TL in the area of Cypress Street and Palm Avenue and the Acura crashed into their car.

The Taurus rolled over upon impact and burst into flames.

No Survivors in Taurus, Other Driver in Critical Condition

Three of the four occupants of the Taurus were not able to escape the vehicle. The driver was able to escape, but succumbed to his injuries shortly afterward. The driver of the Acura was taken to the hospital in critical condition. It is unclear who had right of way at the time of the collision.

Understanding Who Has Right of Way

Failure to obey right of way results in several car crashes every day.

The term “right of way” is used to determine which driver has the right to proceed. Right of way may be determined through signs, traffic signals, or following the rules of the road.

Some common scenarios where right of way may not be entirely clear include:

  • Making a left turn: Unless you have a green arrow, turning drivers must yield to oncoming traffic (including cars making a right turn when the light is green). If you turn left without a green arrow and strike a vehicle which is proceeding forward, it is likely that you will be found at fault
  • Making a turn on red: Turning right on a red is legally permissible unless signage indicates otherwise. In this situation you must yield to cars going through the intersection when there is a green light (including cars making a legal left turn on a solid green light). Vehicles moving on a green light always have right of way
  • Parking lots and driveways: Vehicles traveling on a main lane in a parking lot that exits to a street has right of way over other vehicles from “feeder” lanes. If you are backing out of a parking stall or a residential driveway, you must yield to vehicles already moving through the lane
  • Merging: While it is common courtesy to allow merging vehicles to join into the flow of traffic, it is not required. Any vehicle merging into flowing traffic must yield right of way to those which are already moving forward

Get Free Expert Advice from Fox & Fox Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured in a car crash in the Sherman Oaks area which was the result of another’s negligence, Fox and Fox Personal Injury Attorneys can help. We invite you to call today to arrange a free case consultation, at (818) 986-4494.

Who’s Responsible for Multiple Vehicle Car Collision?

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California freeways generally experience heavy traffic volume at high speeds everyday, sometimes leading to catastrophic multiple vehicle collisions. A deadly collision recently occurred along the Golden State Freeway, killing one and injuring nine others. At least three cars, three big rigs, and a pickup towing a trailer and a van were involved.

With several vehicles involved, who should be made liable for the death and injuries of the victims?

Initial reports said that a vehicle hit one of the big trucks causing it to cross over the center divider and into the opposite lane and hit another big truck, causing the latter and another big rig nearby to catch fire. Authorities, however, have refrained to state any findings until investigation into the complicated car collisions is completed.

Complicated Car Wrecks

In California, tort law allows an injured party or their surviving heirs to recover damages when the incident causing harm is due to the fault of another party such as when a truck driver has fallen asleep behind the wheel or was driving while under the influence.

But not all crashes are due to one party’s negligence or carelessness. Crashes involving several vehicles are often the result of a complex set of factors where one or more parties may have contributed to the catastrophic incident.

Claiming Compensation for Car Crash Injury

When initial findings indicate that fault or negligence of more than one party may have led to the crash, injured parties may find it a challenge to claim compensation from insurance companies of the parties involved. This is because insurance companies will try to assign blame on other parties, including the injured party, in order to justify its denial or reduction of the value of the insurance payout.

Role of Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s important to call an experienced personal injury attorney who can handle the paperwork and discussions with insurance companies rather than deal with the claims personnel on your own. Your Sherman Oaks car accident lawyer can also represent you before a jury and recover damages including the costs of past and future medical bills, past and future lost income, and for pain and suffering.

In Los Angeles, California, the personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Fox and Fox have been helping clients throughout the San Fernando Valley and other parts of Greater Los Angeles. We are focused on helping victims of negligence in all types of personal injury.

We invite you to call us today at (818) 986-4494 for a free consultation.

Property Owners Sued for Wrongful Death Due to Poisoning

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The owners of an apartment building where a married couple died are facing a wrongful death lawsuit for the owners’ alleged failure to properly install carbon monoxide detectors which led to the untimely passing of the couple who had occupied a unit in the building.

Cause of Wrongful Death

The couple, who were in their early 30s, were found dead in their home several months ago. An autopsy conducted on the couple showed that they had very high levels of carboxyhemoglobin in their blood. The couple also had two pet cats both of which also.

The mother of one of the decedents eventually filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the building owners (who were at the same time the landlord of the couple) for failing to install a carbon monoxide detector on the second floor of the apartment where the couple were asleep at the time of the poisoning. The lawsuit alleged that her son would not have died due to poisoning had the building owner installed the carbon monoxide detector at the 2nd floor in compliance with the California Building Code.

The decedent couple had lived in the defendants’ apartment building for seven years. The plaintiff’s son was a successful game developer who owned a gaming company while his wife had a Ph.D. in psychology and was pursuing her post-doctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley.

The lawsuit maintains that the young decedents were productive members of their community and were loved and respected by those who knew them.

Recovering Damages

Unfortunate incidents such as poisoning can be devastating to the victims’ loved ones. While the deaths may not have been deliberate, they might have been prevented through necessary precautions such as the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in important locations throughout the building.

If you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, a compassionate and competent personal injury attorney can help you through the legal process of obtaining justice for your untimely loss.

Depending on the circumstances of the incident, you may be able to recover damages for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support that the decedent would have provided to the plaintiff
  • Loss of gifts or benefits that the decedent was expected to give the plaintiff
  • Loss of companionship, care, assistance, moral support of the decedent
  • Loss of training and guidance coming from the decedent

In California, the Sherman Oaks personal injury attorneys at Fox and Fox have been practicing law for over 30 years, helping families cope with the devastating consequences of wrongful deathWe invite you to call us today at (818) 986-4494 to speak to an attorney about your situation.

Two Fatalities in Recent Collisions with Big Rigs

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A man was killed on March 23, 2017, after his car smashed into a big rig on the 101 Freeway. The truck had been parked along the shoulder of the road when the smaller vehicle crashed into it. In another incident, a man was killed on March 8, when his Ford F-150 veered into the opposite travel lane and crashed into a semi head on. These recent deaths highlight the dangers of big rigs in motor vehicle collisions, and the importance for vigilance and safety on the roadway.

Death Traps of the Los Angeles Freeways

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there are over 30,000 car crashes and 3,000 traffic fatalities every year in the state. Los Angeles is by far the most dangerous area of California for serious motor vehicle collisions. There is one 27-mile stretch of the I-710 Freeway that is notorious for accidents – in 2010, trucks were involved in nearly one-third of all car crashes here, and were found to be at fault in nearly half the collisions.

Study Reveals Major Factors of Large Truck Collisions

A comprehensive report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on the causes of serious crashes involving large trucks, identified fatigue, drinking alcohol, and speeding as major factors. Other crash influencers could occur in the days, weeks, and months prior to the crash – such as:

  • inadequate or non-existent driver training
  • insufficient driver experience
  • vehicle manufacture problems
  • poor vehicular maintenance
  • highway conditions and signals
  • weather conditions

The FMCSA report studied over 100,000 large truck crashes over a two year period, and revealed that the most common driver factors contributing to crashes were inattentiveness, being distracted, failure to observe the situation properly, as well as driving too fast for the conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles, and following other vehicles too closely. The number one factor for large trucks was brake problems, followed by interruption in traffic, prescription drug use, and traveling too fast. For crashes specifically involving large trucks and passenger vehicles, the most common causes were interruption of traffic flow, unfamiliarity with roadway, inadequate observation, and driving too fast for conditions.

Deadly Nature of Large Truck Crashes

Collisions with large trucks are also much more deadly than with other passenger cars. This is due to their sheer size and weight, and the massive force and momentum they generate, often irrespective of the truck’s speed. When a tire comes off of a semi-truck it can have devastating consequences for numerous vehicles, and often occurs without the driver of the truck even being aware. Truck drivers are often over-worked, given unrealistic demands, and their trucks are often not properly maintained.

Large Truck Collisions on the Rise

Crashes with large trucks are indeed on the rise, and measures are being taken to combat the problem, including mandating of stability control, better traffic enforcement, and tighter regulations. If you are on the roadway in Los Angeles, it is imperative to be aware of these dangers.

Call Fox & Fox Today

If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle collision with a large truck, as a result of the negligence or reckless conduct of another, you may be entitled to significant compensation. This can include recovery for injuries, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and property damage.

The personal injury attorneys at Fox & Fox have the experience and expertise needed to examine your case and help get you the recovery you deserve. A car crash with a large vehicle is a devastating enough experience. You don’t need to continue to suffer afterwards through lost earnings, pain and suffering, hospital and medical bills, without receiving the compensation to which you are entitled.

We invite you to call us today to arrange a free initial consultation at (818) 986-4494.

Wrongful Death Suit Brought Against Catholic Diocese

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A 50 year old Los Angeles man committed suicide in 2015 after he was unable to cope with continued feelings of depression, violation, and guilt. He struggled with these emotions for decades, after having been subjected to repeated sexual abuse by a local area priest as a child.

His family is now pursuing a wrongful death suit.

Web of Sadistic Abuse

The victim served as an altar boy in the 1970s at a Catholic church and school, under the authority of the predator priest. There the victim became one of many boys subjected to repeated sexual abuse. In the widespread sexual abuse scandal that took place in recent years, this priest was revealed to be one of the worst predators in the Catholic Church.

The suit alleges that the priest “set his sights on [the victim’s] youthful vulnerability” and “entrapped [the victim] in his web of sadistic abuse while simultaneously alienating [the victim] from his family and support system” (www.patch.com).

The predator priest is said to have warned the victim to stay silent and made threats if he ever said anything. The victim stayed silent, out of fear, until many years later, when other victims began coming forward.

A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death suit may be pursued when someone dies as a result of the misconduct or negligence of another. It is a civil claim, separate from any criminal charges, that provides financial compensation for the loss of a loved one. It may be brought by the surviving spouse, partner, children, or personal representative of the decedent’s estate, and at times by parents, siblings, or other family members.

Compensation is available for loss of household support, anticipated future earnings, loss of love and affection, and to cover funeral expenses, and any medical or hospital bills.

A wrongful death claim must show that:

  1. The defendant owed a duty to the victim
  2. The defendant violated that duty
  3. This violation – “negligence” or “misconduct” – caused the death – a result that was reasonably foreseeable. The burden of proof in such a case is “a preponderance of the evidence” – usually instructed to mean, if met, that the defendant’s conduct “more likely than not” caused the defendant’s death

Other Forms Of Predatory Abuse

In addition to sexual abuse, other forms of victimization can occur when one is harassed, bullied, or stalked. If the behavior is serious or persistent enough – it can lead to depression and other mental suffering.

Call Fox and Fox Today

If you have a loved who took their life after being subjected to any form of abuse, or died as a result of the wrongful or negligent actions of another, we invite you to contact Fox and Fox law firm today at (818) 986-4494 to arrange a free consultation. You may be entitled to significant compensation that, while impossible to bring back your loved one, may help your family to not just survive, but to enjoy a quality of life you may otherwise not have.

New California Traffic Rule to Reduce Car Accident Risks

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Starting this year, motorists are no longer allowed to hold and operate a mobile telephone or wireless electronic communications device while driving a motor vehicle. Under Assembly Bill 1785, mobile communications devices must be fastened on the car’s windshield or attached to the center console or dashboard, away from the hands of motorists. The only time that a driver can legally touch the mobile device is when activating or deactivating a feature with a single tap or swipe on the surface of the phone or device.

Limited Cellphone Use

Under the previous law, drivers are prohibited from using a mobile electronic device to read, write, or send a text-based communication but are allowed to operate these devices on hands-free or voice-activated mode. The new law is intended to reduce driving distraction by ensuring that the motorist’s phone or device does not block the driver’s view of the road. Excepted from the new law are vehicles with communications systems that are integrated and embedded in the vehicle by the car manufacturers.

Cellphone Distraction Accident Statistics

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, as much as 80 percent of car accidents are linked to some driver distraction, killing on average some 3,000 people yearly. And texting or talking on the cellphone while driving is a common source of distraction while driving. Texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, while a car can crash into another vehicle with less than 2 seconds reaction time. The traffic safety office also maintains that even hands-free conversations on a mobile phone while driving can also cause inattentiveness on the road.

Claiming Compensation for Car Accident Injury

The new law makes it every driver’s duty to leave their cellphone or other mobile device away from the driver’s hands while behind the wheel. A driver whose cellphone use causes a car accident may be legally responsible for the injured party’s medical bills, lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering.

Were you involved in a car accident recently? Call the personal injury attorneys of Fox and Fox Law Corporation immediately to discuss your situation.

Working out of Los Angeles, California, our firm has over 3 decades of experience and has helped numerous clients recover full compensation for their car accident injuries. We offer a complimentary confidential consultation where we can evaluate your case and provide you with the best legal advice for your situation. Contact us online or call us today at (818) 986-4494.

Huge Commercial Truck Accident Verdicts a Continuing Trend

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Insurance premiums are increasingly expensive for commercial trucks in the U.S. The cost of truck insurance is attributed to the continuing trend of the so-called ‘nuclear’ verdicts that juries have issued in catastrophic truck accidents.

Federal regulations generally require commercial trucks with a gross weight exceeding 10,000 pounds to maintain an insurance coverage of at least $750,000. Trucks that transport hazardous materials are required to obtain a higher coverage that may consist of insurance and surety bonds.

When a party is injured in a truck accident, the first recourse is to seek compensation from the trucker’s insurance company. In catastrophic truck accidents where injuries tend to be severe or even fatal, the value of compensation sought can exceed the maximum coverage of the insurance policy, prompting parties to fight it out in truck accident litigation.

Observers of truck accident cases have noted the increasing trend of ‘nuclear’ or record-breaking monetary awards in millions of dollars favoring the plaintiffs. Insurance companies maintain that the awards have become difficult to anticipate given that the amounts significantly exceed the value of medical bills and lost wages. Insurers refer to them as ‘nuclear’ because a single verdict can wipe out an insurer’s profits and threaten the viability of its business.

Challenges in Truck Accident Claims

Truck accident litigation is often complex, involving various factors and responsible parties other than the truck driver. Investigation and preservation of evidence are crucial steps for any litigation to result in maximum verdicts.

If you sustained severe injuries in a truck accident, you deserve a highly skilled and experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover compensation. To establish your right against the negligent defendant, your lawyer must take several steps such as:

  • Obtaining court orders impounding the vehicle and its contents in order to examine and preserve critical evidence;
  • Interviewing paramedics, responding traffic officers, and other witnesses;
  • Conducting a thorough check of the driver’s history of employment, driving record, traffic tickets, experience and training, as well as civil and criminal records;
  • Examining the truck’s “black box” recorder, GPS, speed tracking system, and maintenance records; and
  • Checking the trucking company’s accident statistics and other relevant records.

In Los Angeles, California, the truck accident lawyers at the Fox and Fox Corporation have more than 35 years of combined experience in truck accidents. Our Sherman Oaks personal injury attorneys work very hard to make the lives of our clients better by obtaining the maximum value of compensation that they are legally entitled to receive.

Contact us by email or call us today at (818) 986-4494 to arrange for your free confidential consultation.