San Diego City Heights Auto Accident Fatally Injures Two

UNION TRIBUNE Pauline Repard reported that  Elizabeth Belete,19, and Cassandra Robinson, 21, received fatal injuries and another person was critically injured in the City Heights area as a result of an auto accident at around 7 p.m. on October 9, 2010. The hit-and-run accident happened on state Route 15, at or near the southbound transition lanes to I-805, causing both vehicles to fly off the freeway.  According to CHP officers, both of the woman who were killed were ejected from one vehicle, were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The three occupants of the second vehicle were trapped for a period of time before being rescued . One of the occupants sustained serious injuries, the other two reportedly left the scene before police arrived. Investigating officers said “We are treating this like a crime scene.”

Applicable California Law


The driver of the second vehicle who left the scene could be charged with felony hit and run (see my prior Blog post San Diego Hit-And-Run Auto Accident Causes Severe Brain Injury for California Hit and Run Law). Since the accident is still under investigation, one or both drivers could be found to be at fault. Irrespective of who caused of the accident, they will be liable to the heirs for the wrongful death of the victims who lost their lives (see my prior Blog post Escondido Auto Accident Fatally Injures Man In Wheelchair for California  Law on Wrongful Death). Furthermore, they would be liable for the personal injury and property damage sustained by the others involved in the accident. There could also be potential products liability claims by the heirs of the deceased against the manufacturer and distributor of the vehicle occupied by the ones ejected, if their vehicle was found to be defective and contributing to their deaths (see my prior Blog post Valley Center Man Killed in Oceanside Work Accident for California Law on Products Liability).


A  Saturday night outing turns into tragedy. Determining who is at fault and responsible for the claims of the injured or the heirs of those who lost their lives can be complicated. Auto accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents resulting in wrongful death, brain injuries, or serious spine injuries can change the lives of those injured and their families. Having the advice and guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney before speaking with any insurance company is critical to preserving the rights of those who have sustained a loss.

San Diego Conference On New Scan Provides Safer Treatment Options For Victims of Spinal Injuries

American Roentgen Ray Society, held its 2010 annual conference in San Diego and unveiled a new technique for  the diagnosis and treatment of spine injuries. The new scan, called a CT spine reformatting, has the potential of eliminating the need for x-rays, lowering radiation exposure, and is a more economical way of evaluating spine injuries to the mid and low back regions.

Ongoing Studies  at the University Of Calgary’s Foothills Medical Center with patients who had the new  scan and x-rays taken of the same parts of the spine, showed  that x-rays were less accurate than the scans. As detailed by Viesha Clure, lead author of the study, “the x-rays provide no additional information, and in fact, some of these fractures were not seen on the x-rays.” The benefit of the new technique is that it makes diagnosis and treatment of spine injuries more precise and effective.

Developing new, safer, less costly, more effective and accurate techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic spine injuries is key for injury victims’ ability to achieve the best outcome in resolving there injuries.  However, when these injuries are not properly diagnosed and treated, they may lead to permanent residual consequences. Studies and statistics show that the most common causes of spine injuries arise from vehicular accidents such as auto accidents, motorcycle accident or slip and fall accidents . Taking prompt action and obtaining prompt medical treatment, employing the latest techniques and using the latest technology can have a significant influence on the outcome of serious injuries. Having the knowledge of cutting edge techniques and  the latest treatment options is one of the many benefits of consulting an experienced personal injury attorney.


The AMERICAN CHRONICAL reports that the California State Assembly Health Committee passed a bill, headed by Assembly member Alberto Torrico, extending funding for an additional five years for spinal cord injury research. The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act was originally signed into law in 2000, and would expire next January if the new bill was not approved. The funds will be allocated to the University of California, which has received $13.9 million to date and has generated an additional $60 million in research grants from other sources, such as the National Institutes of Health. The funds have been used to promote research projects at several University of California schools including UC San Diego, resulting in 175 published scientific papers and scientific breakthroughs.

Spinal Cord Injury  

There are approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries (SCI) each year in the US, not including those who die at the scene of the accident, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center.  Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause accounting for 41.3% of SCI cases , followed by falls 27.3%, acts of violence 15%, and recreational sporting activities. Taking into account the various degrees of damage to the spine at different segments, less than 1% of persons experience complete neurological recovery by the time they are discharged from the hospital. The lasting effects on SCI victims range from various degrees of Paraplegia to intermittent or chronic pain. To whatever extent, the effects of SCI are compelling and life altering. In most cases extensive rehabilitation and counseling are required to deal with the devastating effects.

Continued research and funding for the development of treatment options such as Stem Cell research, new diagnostic tools, and therapy/rehabilitation options are critical. Over the years, I have seen the devastating effects of SCI, as I’ve represented victims of personal injury and their families due to auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Talking to an experienced personal injury attorney can have a great impact on finding the resources to help you, or a loved one, get the crucial care you or they might need.

San Diego Accident Injures Nine Bus Passengers

UNION-TRIBUNE Reporter Jose Jimenez reported that nine bus passengers were injured when a Mitsubishi Eclipse struck a Metropolitan Transit System bus on March 24, 2010, at around 3:40 p.m., in the City Heights area. The car was traveling south on 37th Street and ran a stop sign at University Avenue. The car struck the eastbound bus carrying 40 passengers, said San Diego police Sergeant Ron Bailiff.  The injured, ages 18 to 55, sustained spine injuries to their necks and backs. Two were seriously injured, and one was treated by paramedics at the accident scene.  The driver of the car, a male between 18 to 25 years old, tried to leave the scene of the accident; however, his vehicle sustained major damage and stalled on 37th Street. He then ran north on 37th Street and has not been identified. He is suspected of drunk driving, since an open container was found in his vehicle.

Applicable California Law


If the driver of the Eclipse is caught, he will face criminal charges for leaving the scene and for driving under the influence.  Furthermore, he will be liable for the victims’ injuries and if proven that he was driving under the influence, he could be exposed to a punitive damage award.  If the driver is not identified, the owner of the vehicle could be held liable under the theory of permissive use.  If the driver is the only owner of the vehicle and is never identified, the injured can pursue uninsured motorist claims, provided they have uninsured motorist coverage.

Drunk drivers causing personal injuries are far too common. Spine injuries cause by auto accidents and bus accidents can be extremely complex for someone who does not know the law.  If you, or a loved one, have sustained serious injuries in an accident,  proper advice and guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney is critical.

Point Loma Auto Roll Over Accident

San Diego 6 News, reported that four people were injury in an auto accident  in Point Loma. The accident happened when a vehicle, turning left on Talbot Street,  was struck by another one coming down the hill causing it to roll over.  Fire and rescue crews responded at around 3:00 p.m., and rescued two occupants who were trapped in the overturned vehicle. According to authorities, two other people were also injured.

Applicable California Law

California law requires any vehicle turning left  to yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction that is close enough to constitute a hazard, California vehicle code 21802(a). It is unclear if the driver of the left turning vehicle saw the other vehicle before turning, or was merely inattentive. The location of the other vehicle, before the driver started the turn, is also an issue of fact that is necessary in apportioning fault. If the driver of the  vehicle that was coming down the hill was driving at an unsafe speed, or was inattentive, they could be partly responsible. Apportioning fault could reduce the value of any claims being made by any responsible party. The passengers in both vehicles would have personal injury claims against the left turn driver, and potently the other driver as well.

Auto accident are very traumatic  when any of the vehicles overturn. Auto  accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents , which cause a vehicle to roll over, have a greater probability of resulting in spinal injuries, brain injuries, or wrongful death. Complex issues relating to liability, causation , damages, or insurance coverage can be difficult to prove and analyze. If you have been seriously injured in an accident it is crucial that you talk to an experienced personal injury attorney to know what your options are.