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Lawsuit Alleges Activist Killed by Unsafe Elevator in San Francisco

By Kelly Balamuth on April 1, 2011

The family of a prominent activist who was killed in an elevator accident in San Francisco in 2008 has filed a lawsuit suing the elevator manufacturer and the building’s owner for wrongful death, according to The New York Times.

The victim was a prominent and controversial activist in San Francisco. The accident occurred when he entered an elevator to go to the lobby. The elevator stopped suddenly after going down only half a floor. Minutes later, the man fell 60 feet to his death down the elevator shaft, and his body was only discovered six days later. After the accident, conspiracy theories abounded about whether he was murdered.

However, the victim’s mother recently filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by the elevator manufacturer and the owner of the building. Under California law, door restrictors must be installed on elevators in order to prevent the doors from opening more than four inches if the elevator is moving or is stuck between floors. The restrictors force people who are trapped in elevators to wait for help instead of attempting to climb out, which can lead to tragic results.

The elevator restrictor in the victim’s elevator was broken, allowing him to open the door and plunge to his death. Three weeks before the accident, an OSHA inspector reported to the elevator manufacturer that the door restrictor had been disabled and turned upside down. The elevator needed a spare part which was never ordered, and the problem was forgotten.

Elevators that are available to the public must be safe. If you have lost a loved one as the result of an unsafe condition inside a public building, contact the Northern California wrongful death attorneys at Balamuth Harrington at 888-254-1234. We will discuss your case with you and help you understand your legal options.

Elderly San Francisco Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Crane Truck

By Kelly Balamuth on March 30, 2011

A 71-year-old woman was struck and killed by a crane-ferrying truck on the morning of March 18. According to SFGate.com, the woman was in the Second Street crosswalk at Townsend Street in the South of Market neighborhood when a truck, carrying a crane, made a left hand turn onto Second Street and hit the woman as she was crossing. Firefighters rushed the woman to a local hospital, but she died early that afternoon. The truck driver was given drug and alcohol tests at the scene of the accident and was cooperative, albeit distraught..

Unfortunately, between 4,000 and 5,000 pedestrians are killed each year in the U.S. by motor vehicle accidents. That amounts to 11 deaths in the U.S. each day. Even considering those statistics however, pedestrian injuries and deaths appear to be on the decline. It’s unclear whether this decline is due to pedestrian safety improvements or whether the number of walkers has decreased..

When you are a pedestrian, following some basic safety tips can make travelling on foot safer:1) Be careful at intersections. Drivers frequently fail to yield the right of way to pedestrians when they are turning; 2) Only use crosswalks to cross the street; and 3) If you are walking at night, carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing in order to make yourself more visible to drivers.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident with a truck or other vehicle, you have legal rights. The driver of the automobile may be liable for any financial or emotional losses or other damages resulting from the accident. To learn more about your options, contact the Northern California wrongful death attorneys at Balamuth Harrington at 888-254-1234.

Fatal Car Crash in Sacramento Kills Woman, Driver Charged With Drunk Driving

By Kelly Balamuth on December 17, 2010

According to The Sacramento Bee, a fatal car accident occurred late Sunday evening, November 14, and left one young woman dead.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is still investigating the fatal crash, but reports that at about 10 p.m., a Jeep Cherokee was driving at a high rate of speed on Lambert Road in Sacramento. For unknown reasons, the motor vehicle left the road and struck a tree, causing the right side of the Jeep to suffer major damage on impact. The woman was a passenger in the vehicle and died at the scene of the car accident. The male driver of the Jeep suffered only minor injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

The CHP alleges that the driver was driving under the influence of alcohol but the accident remains under investigation. The CHP is seeking witnesses to the accident. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Stephen Newman at 916-681-2300 or the CHP dispatch at 916-861-1300.

While it appears as though alcohol was a factor in this tragic car crash, there are a number of factors that can cause a car accident, including:

  • Speeding;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Bad weather conditions;
  • Driving while fatigued;
  • Driving recklessly; and
  • Poor road conditions.

In cases where someone else’s negligence causes a car crash, a personal injury or wrongful death case can be filed.

The family of a victim killed in a car accident can seek financial relief in the form of damages for the loss of their loved one in a court of law. The sudden death of a loved one often results in a family being forced to pay for expenses, including hospital expenses, funeral costs, burial expenses, and more, which can be difficult, particularly in these hard economic times.

The Northern California wrongful death attorneys at Balamuth Harrington have experience representing many families who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one and will work aggressively to ensure you are able to receive adequate compensation for your loss. Contact our law office today at 1-888-254-1234.

Attorney Kelly Balamuth was profiled in the
September 2013 Issue of Plaintiff Magazine.

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