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Car Accident Involving Elderly Driver Fatally Injures Pedestrian

By Brian Chase on April 22, 2010 - No comments

James Swopes, 47, was killed in a pedestrian accident in Chico, California, the night of April 19, 2010, the Chico Enterprise Record reports. The injury accident occurred on The Esplanade near Panama Avenue. Swopes was struck by an elderly driver as he tried to cross The Esplanade from west to east. The driver was identified as 87-year-old Julio Amezquita. Swopes was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. Amezquita apparently told police that he did not see the pedestrian until he was directly in front of his vehicle.

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I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of James Swopes for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2008 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, there was one fatality and 10 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Chico, California. In Butte County as a whole, 30 fatalities and 761 injuries were reported as a result of car accidents.

Car Accident Causes

Based on this news report, it is not clear how or why this fatal pedestrian collision occurred. There are many questions here. Was Swopes in a crosswalk at the time of the collision? Was the elderly driver impaired, distracted, inattentive, or incapacitated at the time of the collision? Was there a dangerous condition on the roadway, which may have caused or contributed to this accident? I trust officials are looking into these and other factors in order to determine precisely what caused this fatal crash.

Laws and Liability Issues

Motorists are required under California law to yield right-of-way to pedestrians in marked or unmarked crosswalks at intersections. California Vehicle Code Section 21950 states: “The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” The same section also states that the driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk “shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of a vehicle or take any other action relating to the operating of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”

In this particular case, if the elderly driver is determined to have caused this fatal accident, he could be held liable. Victims’ families may be able to file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation to cover funeral expenses, lost future earnings, loss of love and companionship, and other damages. If a dangerous or defective roadway caused this accident, then the city or governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a public entity must be filed within six months of the accident or injury. The best California personal injury lawyers will always offer a free and comprehensive consultation to injured victims and their families.

The BISNAR|CHASE personal injury law firm is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.

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