Friday, May 29, 2009

Lawsuit Filed in Teen Car Crash Death

The family of 14 year old boy Phoenix Nguyen sued the city of Huntington Beach approximately one year after the March 2008 car crash that killed him.  Nguyen was the passenger of a 1995 Acura when the driver, traveling at 75 to 80 mph in a 45 mph zone, ran a stop sign.  The family apparently claims that the stop sign at the intersection in which he was killed was not clearly visible, thereby creating a “dangerous condition of public property,” and that this condition resulted in a “reasonably foreseeable risk of injury.”

The city has stated it believes that “the road was properly marked and signed,” and that the accident was a result of excessive speed.”  However, approximately two weeks later, another drive of a yellow Ford Mustang ran the same intersection, crashing into a Toyota Camry.  Stephen Solomon, partner with the Playa Del Rey, California law firm Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson and co-host of the weekly televised talk show Legal Help Live says when a family makes a claim for wrongful death of a minor child the law allows compensation for loss of love, comfort and society but not emotional distress.  While it is difficult to discern between these two categories of damages it is an important difference.  Moreover, the economic value to compensate for the death of a minor presents unique challenges.  Victims should always evaluate the experience of prospective counsel when deciding to retain a lawyer in this area of the law.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Car Accident Leaves Two Pedestrians Dead

A two-car accident that occurred on March 31, 2009 killed two pedestrians and left one other in critical condition.  The collision occurred on the border between Los Angeles and West Hollywood, near the intersection of Fountain and La Brea, killing a 65 year old woman at the scene.  The other two pedestrians, a man and woman in their 50’s, were hospitalized and listed in critical condition.  The second woman died just hours later.  The victims were allegedly in the pedestrian crosswalk when they were struck.

The surviving victim and the family of the two others may have legal claims both against the drivers of the two vehicles, as well as the City.  Stephen Jamieson, partner with the Playa Del Rey, California law firm Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, and co-host of the weekly televised talk show Legal Help Live says while it is apparent that the drivers of the vehicles must be considered when evaluating who is liable for this tragedy, it is also necessary to evaluate if one or the other City may also be liable, or perhaps CALTRANS, for a dangerous condition of public roadway.  Like any claim against a governmental entity in California, such a claim must be appropriately filed in an adequate manner against the correct entity(ties) not later than 6 months from the date of the accident or the victim’s rights may be forever lost.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Families Sue City of Newport for Broken Neck and Drowning

Two local families have recently sued the city of Newport for the March 2008 drowning of 17 year old Victor Want and an August 2008 incident in which a young man dived into a wave and broke his neck.  Wang’s family seeks $20 million from the city, claiming that “there were no flags posted or visible showing that there was high surf or high wind conditions.”  The second young man’s claim seeks $500,000 claiming that an unspecified “dangerous condition of public property” and a “failure to warn” were the cause of his neck injury.


California Government Code § 831.2 states that public entities are not liable for injuries caused by dangerous conditions of unimproved public property.  However, § 835 of the Code states that a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if it was in a dangerous condition and the public entity did not take measures to protect against a known condition.  Stephen Jamieson, partner with the Playa del Rey, California law firm, Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, and co-host of the weekly televised talk show, Legal Help Live, says cases where the government is a defendant present unique issues of “notice” and an opportunity to fix a known problem, as well as evaluating if governmental immunities are applicable.  Cases like this present special challenges to lawyers so victims should always assess what area of expertise is possessed by counsel they are considering to retain.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Actress Natasha Richardson’s Death Due to Delayed Bleeding

Actress Natasha Richardson died on March 19, 2009 apparently as a result of a brain injury suffered in a skiing accident just two days prior. Her death surprised many, as she walked away unscathed after a relatively minor fall on the ski slopes. Doctors characterized Richardson’s injury as a “walk and die” syndrome, which is usually due to delayed bleeding from an artery in the brain. Dr. Christopher Giza, a neurologist at the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center said that “patients like Richardson appear normal immediately after injury, walking and talking as if nothing has happened. But symptoms can develop within an hour, such as a coma or even death.”

It is not yet clear what type of civil liability, if any, the owners of the ski resort are subject to. Richardson was apparently not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and the resort’s policy, as will virtually all ski resorts, seemingly did not require skiers to wear helmets. Ralph Saltsman, partner with the Playa Del Rey, California law firm, Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson, and co-host of the weekly televised talk show, Legal Help Live, says…sporting injuries are many times the result of poorly managed facilities with no or little safety plan or procedure.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chatsworth Metrolink Crash Survivor Faces Long Road Back

Mofya, a 27 year old exchange student from Zimbabwe, was riding Metrolink 111 when it slammed head-on into a Union Pacific freight train in Chatsworth on September 12, 2008, killing 25 and injuring 135.  Mofya suffered severe injuries as a result, including internal cuts, burns over a tenth of her body, brain injuries, a badly broken ankle and femur, and a torn corpea.  For two months she remained in a coma until she finally awoke on Thanksgiving Day.  Mofya was apparently released from the hospital on January 18, 2009 it is reported.

 While Mofya is apparently on the road back to recovery, doctors have reported that she will likely never be the same.  Mofya may face many more months of physical and mental rehabilitation before she will regain the ability to walk, write, read and speak.  Commenting on this tragic and highly publicized train crash is Stephen Solomon, partner with the Playa Del Rey, California law firm Solomon, Saltsman & Jamieson and co-host of the weekly television show Legal Help Live, stating that claims against train or railway companies present unique challenges, not the least of which is a 200 million dollar cap on all damages for all persons in the aggregate.  Whether or not the 200 million dollar cap is applicable to the wrongful death claims or is just applicable to the injury claims remains to be determined.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009