Two sisters, ages 12 and 6, were critically injured in a Los Angeles car crash after a suspected drunk driver struck them while they were walking in a marked crosswalk. According to a City News Service report, the major injury collision occurred the night of September 7, 2012 at the intersection of North San Fernando Road and Hallett Avenue near Glassell Park. Police say the two girls and their grandmother were crossing the roadway when a car that was westbound on San Fernando hit the pedestrians. The male driver was traveling at 50 mph in a 35-mph zone. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. While the grandmother was not hurt, the two children were transported to an area hospital with life threatening injuries.
My thoughts and prayers are with these two severely injured children and their family members for what they are going through at this time. The younger child apparently underwent brain surgery after suffering severe head trauma. I wish these injured victims the very best for a complete recovery.
DUI Crash Statistics
There were 79 fatalities and 1,989 injuries involving alcohol-related collisions in Los Angeles in 2010, according to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). During the same year, 197 people died and 4,359 were injured due to DUI crashes countywide.
Violation of Several Laws
Based on this news report, not only was the driver of the car speeding and under the influence, but he also failed to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrians who were walking in a marked crosswalk. 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.”
California Vehicle Code Section 22350 (Basic Speed Law) states: “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic and on surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” In addition, driving under the influence is illegal under California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a).
Protecting Victims’ Rights
In such cases, drunk drivers can be held criminally as well as civilly liable. Injured victims (or their families) can seek compensation to cover damages including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, long-term care and pain and suffering. A knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway condition caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Please remember that any such claim against a California public entity must be filed within six months of the incident. For more information about the dangers of driving under the influence, please visit the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) web site at www.madd.org.