Articles Tagged with Northern California wrongful death law firm

tom-pumford-254867-unsplash-copy-300x185If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim, a survival claim, or both. Wrongful death and survival claims are similar to each other, but they also have distinct differences. It is important to understand what these are, so you know what you and your family are entitled to under each. No matter which type of claim you are filing, each has its own complexities. For this reason, it is important to speak to a San Francisco wrongful death attorney before filing a claim.

Wrongful Death

The California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 377.60 allows personal representatives of a deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. The personal representative is either outlined in the deceased’s will, or is the deceased’s surviving spouse, child, or other family member. 

bjorn-tore-okland-119009-copy-300x200The Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District responded to an accident at Central Landfill near Petaluma on Friday, December 15 around 6 p.m. A truck driver, Ezekiel Jackson Sumner Jr., was struck and killed by his truck. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office stated Sumner was found underneath his truck on top of a compost pile at the landfill.

Sumner had been working for a subcontractor of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, AshBritt Environmental, removing debris from wildfire sites in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake counties. At the time, he was dropping off debris that he had gathered from wildfire sites and had left the truck idling. Another worker found the truck in gear, which had backed up into its own trailer and pinned Sumner.

The California Highway Patrol, Army Corps of Engineers, and Cal-OSHA are conducting individual investigations into the incident. It has been reported that Ash Britt has violated safety regulations in the past, however it is currently unknown whether any violations took place preceding or during this incident.

a-l-117960-copy-300x198On Saturday, November 25, four individuals were killed in a hit-and-run accident on I-80 in San Pablo, California. The collision was sizable, involving five vehicles and blocking all westbound lanes off I-80. The four individuals killed were a family from Napa Valley and included Daryl Horn, an active community member. The only Horn family member to survive the accident was Daryl’s eldest son. In addition to the four individuals killed in the crash, six others were injured.

The accident took place when Fred Lowe, 47, hit the Horn family’s Nissan sedan, which flipped over and crashed into oncoming traffic. Lowe was arrested later that night when he was involved in a second crash. Authorities reported that Lowe was intoxicated at the time and was driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI. Lowe has been charged with four counts of felony hit and run, a felony DUI, and driving on a suspended license.

The Criminal and Civil Aspects of the Accident

dawn-armfield-66060-copy-300x225Kressa Shepherd, 17, passed away at the end of October due to burns she sustained from the wildfires that swept into Mendocino County, California. Kressa and both of her parents were badly injured by the wildfire, with burns covering a great deal of their bodies. Kressa suffered burns over more than 60% of her body. Her parents, Sara, 40, and Jon, 44, remain hospitalized. They have gone through several surgeries and will require a great deal more medical care in the months to come. Her brother was killed in the wildfire. With Kressa’s passing, the California wildfires in October have taken 43 lives.

Determining Responsibility for the California Wildfires

Responsibility for the California wildfires has yet to be determined. However, major utility company PG&E is under investigation by California’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for the blazes that devastated large portions of the state, including a great deal of the famed Wine Country. PUC is looking into whether PG&E’s maintenance, or lack thereof, of its equipment in Sonoma and Napa counties caused or played a role in the fires. Regulators are particularly interested in whether a lack of vegetation-related maintenance was an issue, such as not cutting back trees, bushes, and other plants.

jacob-ufkes-102143-copy-300x200In mid-August, Edwin Gomez-Zarate, 35, was working for SiteOne Landscape Supply and operating a forklift to load and unload paver stones for a residential driveway project. Details are not immediately known, but Gomez-Zarate became trapped in the forklift in some way. Police were sent to the worksite that afternoon and Gomez-Zarate died shortly after 3 p.m. before arriving at a hospital.

This tragedy is an example of the dangers of many common workplace vehicles and equipment. While forklifts are routinely operated across the country, they require special training and a great deal of care. If the operator and workings around vehicle are not careful and observant, deadly accidents can occur.

The situation that led to Gomez-Zarate’s death is currently under investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety & Health (CAL/OSHA), which may lead to more information. If there is evidence of a health and safety violation, SiteOne Landscape Supply may be sanctioned. Additionally, evidence of a violation or another person’s negligence may support a legal claim by the surviving spouse.

yaoqi-lai-227961-copy-300x200The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced on July 11 that inmate Frank Anaya, 22, who worked as a firefighter in San Diego County, passed away from work-related injuries. While fighting a grass fire on July 5, Anaya severely cut his leg with a chainsaw. Other firefighters on the scene provided care and CPR until he was taken to a nearby hospital. Anaya’s femoral artery was cut and he underwent multiple surgeries. Unfortunately, he did not recover from his injuries and passed away at the hospital.

A Previous Death for Inmate Firefighters

This is not the first inmate firefighter death in California this year. On May 24, Matthew Beck, 26, was clearing brush in Humboldt County with his firefighter crew when a 120-foot tree fell on him. He suffered serious head, neck, and back injuries and died before emergency crews could reach him. It is now known that the radio used by prison supervisors was unable to connect with emergency authorities. A supervisor attempted to use a mobile radio in a Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) emergency vehicle, which too had difficulties connecting to emergency officials. The supervisor had to drive a quarter mile down the road before being able to contact the command center.

samuel-zeller-118195-copy-300x200On Wednesday, June 14, a gunman opened fire in a United Parcel Service facility in San Francisco, killing three people and wounding two others before he killed himself. The shooter has been described as a UPS driver and was dressed in a company uniform at the time. Unfortunately, violence is committed by unhappy workers all too often. This violence leads to unnecessary injuries and fatalities that other workers and their families are left to deal with. In situations like these, the wounded employees and their families may have the right to pursue workers’ compensation claims with their employers and personal injury or wrongful death suits against the deceased gunman’s estate.

Filing a Lawsuit Against the Offender’s Estate

When an accident or violent act leads to the death of the at-fault party, the victims of the incident may worry that they can no longer recover the compensation they deserve. For instance, the individuals wounded in the San Francisco UPS shooting may worry about gaining compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial injuries. The families of those who were killed in such an incident may now wonder whether they can pursue a wrongful death claim and gain compensation for their injuries. The answer is yes, it is possible. California allows individuals injured by carelessness, recklessness, and intentional misconduct to pursue compensation from the at-fault party’s estate.

justin-luebke-43166-copy-300x200In early May, three men were involved in a deadly accident on Highway 168 between Auberry and Shaver Lake. The men were in a Chevrolet Avalanche truck, which rolled 200 to 300 feet down an embankment on the side of the highway. Two men from Clovis, aged 19 and 20, were ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. A third man, 24, was still within the vehicle, possibly up to 12 hours after the crash. Once he was extricated, he was airlifted to a Fresno-area hospital.

The tragic accident is also under investigation as a possible intentional act, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation’s direction was guided after statements made by the survivor of the accident rose some red flags for law enforcement officers.

A Wrongful Death Claim Following a Crash

freestocks-org-126848-copy-300x200Coumadin and other blood thinners are commonly used by elderly individuals. These individuals are often prescribed this type of medication to reduce the chance of heart attack, stroke, and other major medical events. However, blood thinners are serious medications and patients taking them need to be closely monitored by a physician or nursing home staff. Being on this type of medication when it is unnecessary or taking too much can lead to injuries and fatalities. In fact, ProPublica and The Washington Post found that 165 nursing home residents were hospitalized or died after suffering from Coumadin, or the generic Warfarin, errors between 2011 and 2014. These incidents are preventable when elderly patients are given proper care.

The Dangers of Failing to Monitor Blood Thinners

Coumadin has well-documented benefits. However, when patients are given too much or too little of a blood thinner, they are put at risk for serious health issues and early death. For instance, when patients who are at risk for negative health events are given too low of a dosage or not given their prescribed medication, they remain highly at risk for blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. When elderly individuals are prescribed or unnecessarily given too much of a blood thinner, they can suffer internal bleeding. Warfarin can also dangerously interact with other medications like commonly prescribed antibiotics. If physicians and other nursing home staff are not on the lookout for common medication interactions, then elderly patients are seriously at risk for injuries.

p_pnznnd7-y-ashim-d-silva-300x200A Google charter bus traveling in Saratoga struck and killed a woman last week. The woman was walking to a bus stop when the bus reportedly turned the corner and hit her. The accident occurred at the corner of Fruitvale Avenue and Athletics Way on the campus of West Valley College in Saratoga. The bus is owned by Storer Coachways and is used to transport employees to and from the parking lots at the community college.

Weather Conditions May Have Played a Role

An investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing. However, initial reports indicate that there were strong winds and heavy rain at the time of the accident, which happened at 5:15 PM on January 3, 2017. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. The bus company issues a statement of condolence to the woman’s family. It is not known whether the woman was in the crosswalk at the time of the accident.