July 29, 2009

Fatal Crash Fault of 15-Year-Old Driver

According to the San Juan County sheriff's office, a 15-year-old was driving a speeding car that hit a group of bicycle riders and a jogger. The jogger was killed, and a 7-year-old girl was badly injured.

Sheriff Bill Cumming said that the driver and a 17-year-old passenger had been doing some work on a 1974 Chevrolet Nova. On Sunday afternoon, they took it out for a drive on Lopez Island.

The teenage driver lost control of the vehicle and hit the pedestrians and a group of bicyclists at about 2:40 p.m. on Lopez Sound Road. A 26-year-old jogger from Abbotsford, British Columbia died at the scene of the car crash in Washington.

The 7-year-old girl who was on the bicycle had severe injuries and was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

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July 21, 2009

Washington Rush Hour Crash on I-90 Bridge Caused by Unsecured Load

According to the Washington State Patrol, an unsecured load caused a chain reaction crash on the Interstate 90 floating bridge across Lake Washington. The crash delayed Monday evening commuter traffic for hours.

Two westbound lanes were blocked for nearly 2 1/2 hours by the auto accident in Washington. The collision involved five vehicles and a tractor-trailer rig, said a local Trooper.

The Trooper also said that the problem started when a car swerved to avoid a bucket on the freeway. This accident demonstrates how important it is to secure any and all items being transported in a truck or on a vehicle roof to ensure that roads and highways aren't obstructed.

Though none appeared to have serious injuries, six people were taken to Harborview Medical Center.

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July 20, 2009

Washington State Restores $14 Million DUI Award

On Thursday, the Supreme Court in Washington State unanimously voted to reinstate a $14 million award to a family who sued a tavern and a bartender after one of the bar's customers drove away from the establishment and crashed into their vehicle. Their 7-year-old-son is now a paraplegic due to the tragic collision.

According to information from an Associated Press article, the law states that bartenders who serve visibly intoxicated customers are liable for damages to potential victims. At question was the type of evidence needed to prove "negligent over-service". Most states have so-called "dram shop" laws that can make taverns or bartenders — and in some states, even social hosts — liable for damages if they serve intoxicated customers who leave the premises and harm themselves or others.

It was noted by Washington State’s justices that a forensic consultant found that the bar patron likely drank the equivalent of either 21 12-ounce beers or 30 ounces of 80-proof alcohol, and probably had a blood alcohol content of 0.32 at the time of the collision. The legal blood alcohol limit in Washington State is 0.08.

The man was drinking at the Bellingham Moose Lodge, about 90 miles north of Seattle, just before the April 2000 auto accident in Washington. His girlfriend was the bartender at the lodge and served him the night of the accident.

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July 13, 2009

Judge Rules in Favor of Dole - Several Related Cases May Be at Risk

A Los Angeles judge has dismissed two lawsuits that were filed against US Food Giant Dole by Nicaraguan banana plantation workers, according to a recent report on abcnews online. The lawsuits alleged that Dole was guilty of exposing plantation workers to harmful pesticides. Litigation was fueled by previous lawsuits that opponents of the Food Company had won in Nicaragua.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney dismissed the lawsuits on the grounds of fraud and attempted extortion. She made her ruling after hearing testimony that detailed a scheme to recruit men who would claim they were rendered sterile by exposure to a pesticide in the 1970s.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge sighted a litany of judgments coming from Nicaragua, from crooked judges who were ‘devouring bribes’. She was quoted as saying:

"What has occurred here is not just a fraud on the court, it is blatant extortion on the defendant…the record is so outrageous and profound."

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July 10, 2009

Fatal Washington Crash on Hwy 2 Leaves Snohomish Deputy, Prisoner Injured

A full recovery is expected for a Snohomish County sheriff's deputy and his prisoner who suffered injuries in a Washington car collision that killed the other driver on Highway 2 near Snohomish.

According to a Washington State Patrol Trooper, the 35-year-old deputy is in stable condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The prisoner who was traveling in the car with the deputy, and was on his way to jail for domestic violence, was treated for minor injuries at a hospital in Everett.

A pickup truck apparently crossed the center line and collided with the patrol car at about 4:30 a.m., said Leary. The pickup truck caught fire and burned in the accident in which the driver died at the scene.

In order to reach the deputy and the prisoner, rescuers had to cut the roof off the patrol car.

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July 8, 2009

Unsafe Driving Around Commercial Trucks Targeted by Washington State Patrol

The Washington State Patrol reports that between 2005 and 2007, there were almost 5000 commercial truck accidents in Washington alone. These accidents involved drivers of cars who drive unsafely around large commercial trucks. In two-thirds of the accidents, statistics show that the driver of the car was at-fault. These accidents resulted in 175 fatalities and 450 injuries. According to the Patrol, drivers need to leave space for trucks and learn ways to share the road.

John R. Batiste, chief of the Washington State Patrol, says, “Motorists who drive recklessly, or are unsafe around these big rigs, are asking for trouble. When a car and a commercial vehicle are involved in a collision, the car will lose.”

Given these statistics, the Patrol has a worked with other law enforcement agencies to create the Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Truck (TACT) project. In an effort to reduce accidents, the Washington State Patrol is trying to increase the public's awareness of unsafe driving behaviors around commercial vehicles. These dangerous driving behaviors include:

  • cutting off trucks

  • tailgating

  • failure to yield the right of way

  • speeding

  • aggressive driving

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July 6, 2009

Seattle Fatal Bike Accident on Highway 99

According to KOMOnews.com, a 35-year-old Seattle man was killed Wednesday night in a bicycle accident in Seattle on Highway 99.

Apparently, the bicyclist collided with a car a little after 10pm in the southbound lanes of Highway 99 near the Dexter Avenue exit. The driver of the car is suspected of driving under the influence at the time of the accident and was taken to the hospital with injuries.

If it is determined that the driver was in fact under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, he or she could be charged with Vehicular Homicide, RCW 46.61.520. This Washington State statute provides that if a person succumbs to injuries as a result of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, the driver can be charged.

Additionally, the family of the person killed as a result of vehicular homicide can bring a suit for Seattle wrongful death against the person charged with vehicular homicide.

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July 1, 2009

Kirk Bernard Introduces New Spinal Cord Injury Website

The Bernard Law Group has launched a new website focusing on spinal cord injuries and the legal grounds involved when such tragedy strikes. Personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard, is happy to announce the website, http://www.washingtonspinalcordinjuryattorneys.com/, as a resource for spinal injury news, information on causes of spinal injury, and advice for those with various kinds of spinal injuries.

As is the case for most serious injuries, spinal cord injury affects lives unexpectedly and in life-altering ways that require specific medical attention and long rehabilitation to reach a point of well being and good health. The Bernard Law Group believes that it is important for a spinal cord injury victim and their family to understand their legal options when holding those responsible whose negligent actions caused the injury.

As the main “pathway” for neurological impulses to transfer senses and unconscious functions back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body, the spinal cord is extremely important and sensitive. Spine damage can have a drastic influence on an individual’s life and what can be done to treat these injuries has a lot to do with what caused it. Depending on the degree in which the vertebrae-which helps protect the spinal cord- has been damaged, nerve signal transmission can be hindered, causing different types of paralysis.

For two decades, the Bernard Law Group has defended the rights of those who have suffered personal injury due to the negligence of someone else or a large entity. Our firm prides itself in defending the rights of victims and being successful in obtaining millions of dollars for our clients in a number of trial verdicts and settlements. If you or a loved one has experienced a spinal cord injury, no matter how serious or minor, contact the Washington spinal cord injury attorneys at the Bernard Law Group for a free consultation.