June 29, 2007

U-Haul Repeatedly Loses Evidence in Recent Trials

Gabriel Koloszar, Paulo Aguilar, and two friends were driving home Labor Day weekend 2002 when the U-Haul trailer they were pulling caused their Ford Explorer to flip and roll off the side of the freeway. Both Koloszar and Aguilar were severely injured in the accident and required multiple surgeries. The two were left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Koloszar and Aguilar proceeded to sue U-Haul citing that the trailer they had rented had a worn tire that suddenly deflated causing the Explorer to veer left. After months of attempts made by Koloszar and Aguilar’s lawyers to examine the trailer’s parts, U-Haul finally reported that the parts had gone missing. The company stated in court documents that a former employee had stolen the tire and rims. Unfortunately, this was not the first time U-Haul had lost evidence pivotal in a suit against the company.

Over the last 20 years, U-Haul has been sued more than 10,000 times. Out of those suits, the Los Angeles Times found 11 instances where U-Haul had lost, altered, or discarded important evidence. In some cases, U-Haul scrapped or repaired the damaged parts despite court orders to keep the evidence preserved. U-Haul defends its practices stating that it has strengthened its evidence protection policy in recent years; however, they did not provide a copy of that policy when it was requested by the Times.

Koloszar and Aguilar’s lawyers stated that the missing evidence was “convenient.” Citing past cases where the company had lost important evidence, Koloszar and Aguilar’s lawyers asked the Kern County Superior Court Judge Louis P. Etcheverry to punish U-Haul. The Judge cited U-Haul with extreme negligence and said he would impose sanctions before the trial. With the threat of trial sanctions, U-Haul decided to settle with Koloszar and Aguilar one week before trial was to begin.

Click here to read the full article published by the Los Angeles Times.

June 26, 2007

Bus Crashes While Passengers Sleep

A bus carrying passenger’s home from a family reunion crashed the morning of June 25th killing one and injuring sixty six others. The bus accident, which happened on interstate 65 in southern Kentucky, occurred at around 4:20am when the bus driver fell asleep. The bus veered off to the right side of the highway striking a concrete culvert and slamming into a bridge pillar. Three of the passengers, along with the driver, were critically injured, fifty two of the other passenger’s injuries were considered urgent and ten were considered minor. One female passenger died. The bus was rented by a family returning home from a reunion at Niagara Falls. According to the Department of Transportation, the bus rental company had a satisfactory safety rating when it was recently reviewed and had not reported any accidents or injuries during the last two years.

June 21, 2007

7 People Injured and 1 Killed in Kenmore Pedestrian Accident

Seven people were injured and one was killed June 19th when a water supply truck lost control and hit eight pedestrians. The truck accident happened around 4 p.m. at the intersection of SR 522 and 73rd Ave NE in Kenmore. Brian Stambuk, a witness to the accident, stated that a front-loader was stopped a traffic light. When the light turned green it entered the intersection to turn left and was struck by a water supply truck. The water supply truck lost control and struck pedestrians who had just gotten off a bus. The truck ended up smashing into a light pole.

The most seriously injured, a 33 year old man, the 20 year old driver of the water supply truck, and a 58 year old woman taken to Harborview Medical Center. They were reported to have not life-threatening injuries. The rest of the victims were rushed to other area hospitals. According to Sambuk, the woman who died was pinned between the water supply truck and the light pole. SR 522 was closed down for most of the evening for investigation.

Source: http://www.komotv.com/news/8079487.html

June 20, 2007

Deadly Logging Truck Accident

An elderly couple was killed late Wednesday morning when their vehicle collided with a commercial logging truck. According to the Washington State Patrol, the minivan, driven by an 80 year old man from Olympia, ran a stop sign at the intersection of SR-7 and the Eatonville cutoff. Traveling at around 55 mph, the minivan collided into the truck causing it to lose its 100,000 pound load of logs. According to troopers on the scene, the van was dragged around 70 feet while logs from the truck spilled crushing the van. Witnesses said there was nothing the truck driver could do to avoid the accident. The driver’s 77 year old wife, who was a passenger in the minivan, also died in the accident. The driver of the logging truck was not hurt.

Source Article: http://www.komotv.com/news/7749297.html

June 19, 2007

Tires Fall Off Semi, Again

Four times during the month of May tires have fallen off commercial trucks while driving on Northwest area freeways. A Bothell man was killed May 11th when a semi truck, driving northbound on I-5, lost several of its tires colliding with the victim’s van. On May 13th several cars driving on I-90 near Fall City were hit with wheels lost by another commercial vehicle. The third truck accident happened May 29th when a semi driving on I-90 in Issaquah lost two tires. One of the tires hit a car, causing no injuries. The second tire landed on a roof of a nearby home causing some property damage. Thankfully during the most recent incident, which occurred this past Wednesday, the tires bounced off into the shoulder causing no accidents or injuries. The truck was driving northbound on I-5 near Michigan Street and was in the far right hand lane of the freeway. According to the Washington State Patrol it is not clear why the tires fell off the vehicle.
Source Article: http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_053007WABtiresofftruckTP.2709d964.html

June 18, 2007

National Click it or Ticket Campaign

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released research that indicated the odds of being killed in a motor vehicle accident are three times higher at night. At night is also when seat belt usage significantly declines. In order to combat these statistics, the annual Click It or Ticket campaign will focus on nighttime seat belt use. The campaign, supported by a $30 million state and national advertising campaign, will take place between May 21st and June 3rd.

A study conducted by the NHTSA found that between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. more than 15,000 people traveling in motor vehicles died in traffic accidents in 2005. Two thirds of those killed were not wearing their seat belts at the time. According to the study, seat belt usage is about 10 percent lower during nighttime hours compared to the nationwide average of 82 percent daytime seat belt use.

Click here for more information on this topic.

June 16, 2007

Traffic Death’s on America’s Highways Down

According to Mary E. Peters, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, traffic deaths were down slightly in 2006 in preliminary figures. The projected figures indicate that traffic deaths declined nationwide from 43,443 in 2005 to 43,300 in 2006. According to statistics, over half of the occupants who were killed in these accidents died while not wearing their seatbelts. The Secretary noted that police officers around the country are on patrol looking for people who aren’t buckled up. The United States Department of Transportation gives states millions of dollars yearly in support of highway safety. This includes the nearly $27 million dollars used for seat belt enforcement.

Preliminary figures indicate that the 2006 fatality rate is 1.44 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. This figure is down from 1.45 in 2005. Injuries from motor vehicle accidents also dropped from 2.7 million in 2005 to 2.54 million in 2006, a nearly 6 percent drop. Pedestrian deaths dropped from 4,881 to 4,768 deaths and large truck accidents dropped from 5,212 to 5,018. Not all the figures declined though. Alcohol related fatalities increased 2.4 percent to 17,941 deaths. The United States Department of Transportation collects the crash statistics from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The final report will be available at the end of summer.

Article Source: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/dot5307.htm

June 15, 2007

Malpractice Suit Awarded $2.15 Million by Jury

Katie Shreffler, of Broward County Florida, was awarded $2.15 million for her medical malpractice claim against Dr. Marc Philippon, a well known orthopaedic hip surgeon. When Shreffler, who had been a ballerina for 15 years, underwent surgery for pain in her hip, she never expected that 10 years later she would still be in pain, would need to walk with a crutch, and that she would need more surgery to correct the damage done form the original procedure. This ended her career as a dancer. Attorneys for Shreffler stated that she was the victim of an unnecessary surgery and Philippon was using the teenager for practice. Lawyers for the doctor disagreed by stating that her pain and problems were not caused by the surgery. Rather they were caused by Shreffler being born with an abnormal hip.

The surgery, called a hip arthroscopy, took place July 31, 1997. The surgeon makes a small incision in the patient and inserts a camera to look at the hip area. The doctor then makes another incision for a device, in this surgery a bone shaver, to provide the treatment. In Shreffler’s case, a different doctor discovered grinding in her hip caused by torn cartilage. It appears that Philippon put too much pressure on the bone shaver, or may have broken a shaver during the surgery and caused cartilage damage while retrieving it. Shreffler was one of the first patients Philippon had performed this particular surgery on. The $2.15 million settlement will cover Shreffler’s past suffering, her future medical treatment and her inability to work. Attorneys for the doctor said they would appeal the jury’s decision.


Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/467/story/138935.html

June 14, 2007

Fiery Collision Closes Highway 101

Highway 101 was closed for several hours near the Mason-Jefferson County line Monday night when an SUV and a commercial tanker truck collided. The two vehicles exploded into flames killing the driver of the SUV. The victim was later identified as Ronald Alness of Hoodsport. The first responders to the accident stated that the flames were so intense they could not get close to the wreckage. Firefighters were able keep the flames from igniting the tanks on the commercial vehicle.

Article Source: http://www.king5.com/localnews/stories/NW_060507WABbrinnontankerfire_ID_SW.1b64472c.html#

June 13, 2007

“Teensurance” Available Soon

Starting June 27th Safeco Insurance will offer “Teensurance” to its customers in 44 states. Teensurance is a new wallet sized tracking system that is mounted on the dashboard of a vehicle. The system allows parents to set limits for their teenage driver’s using the Teensurance web site. When the teenage driver exceeds the speed limit or travels too far from home or school, the parent automatically receives a message via phone call, text message, or email. The parent can also go online to see the car’s location.

Safeco will offer the service at $14.99 a month. They will not introduce insurance reduction rates until the company determines whether the program actually reduces the amount of collisions. Jim Havens, Safeco’s vice president, says that the device can also be used to monitor elderly drivers or vehicles in a small business fleet.

Click here for the article source.

June 12, 2007

High Speed DUI Crash

Early Tuesday morning police arrested a Bellevue man after he caused a crash on Interstate 90 and fled the scene. According to the Washington State Patrol, Phillip Vandenberg, 37, was driving his Audi westbound on I-90 at a high rate of speed when he rear ended a Ford Explorer at the exit ramp to I-405. The Ford Explorer crashed into both shoulder barriers and then rolled over several times. The driver of the Explorer suffered cuts on his face while his passenger suffered a broken arm and some internal injuries. Vandenberg was not injured in the crash and proceeded to walk away from the scene. Police found him under the ramp of the overpass. Reportedly he still had his car keys in his pocket. When the police inspected Vandenberg’s vehicle they noted that the speedometer was stuck at 110 mph. Vandenberg was arrested for DUI/Vehicular Assault and Hit and Run.

Source Article: Http://www.komotv.com/news/local/7853582.html

June 5, 2007

Washington State Child Restraint Law Information

According to Washington State’s child restraint law, if you are driving someone 16 years of age and younger in a vehicle, it is your responsibility to make sure the passenger is properly buckled up. If your passengers are not properly secured, a ticket can be issued for each unbuckled or improperly buckled child. These tickets can cost at least $112. Here are some helpful tips to use when securing your young passengers:

-A child must use a restraint (an infant seat, child safety seat, or a booster seat) until their 8th birthday, unless the child is already 4 feet 9 inches tall (which ever comes first).

-When a child reaches their 8th birthday or is already 4 feet 9 inches tall, you need to check that the safety belt properly fits the child. There are 5 things you should look for:

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