Ramon Lopez, 74, died in a San Clemente pedestrian accident after he was struck by a motorist while walking his dog on November 17, 2008, The Orange County Register reports. Lopez, a local resident, was hit at the intersection of Avenida Pico and Boca de la Playa. Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials have identified the driver of the car that hit Lopez as 37-year-old Andrew Lee of San Clemente. Lee has not yet been charged pending a police investigation.
My heart goes out to the family of Ramon Lopez for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your prayers.
According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System (SWITRS), in 2006, there was one pedestrian accident fatality in San Clemente and 12 pedestrian injury accidents. During the same period in all of Orange County, there were 45 pedestrian-involved fatalities and 802 injuries reported.
If I were a family member of Ramon Lopez, I’d be very interested to know more about this 11/17/08 Orange County pedestrian accident. Was Ramon Lopez walking in a crosswalk at the time of the collision? Did Lee have the green light or the right-of-way as he was passing through the intersection? Was Lee under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs at the time of the fatal pedestrian accident?
If Lopez was crossing the intersection in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, then Lee would have been required to yield right-of-way. California Vehicle Code Section 21950 (a) states that the driver of a vehicle “shall yield right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway” within any marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. If Lee was operating his vehicle under the influence, he will most likely face felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges.
From the readers’ comments posted on the source article’s Web site, it appears the area where the accident occurred lacked sidewalks, crosswalks and in general, posed a huge hazard to pedestrians. A reader commented that it is hard for drivers to spot pedestrians crossing the street and at the same time hard for pedestrians to anticipate drivers who might come through the intersection. One reader calls the area where this crash occurred “a pedestrian’s nightmare.”
Ramon Lopez’s family members would be well-advised to seek the counsel of an experienced Orange County pedestrian accident attorney who will ensure that their legal rights are protected and the negligent parties are identified and held accountable. It seems to me that the City of San Clemente has neglected to fix the dangerous condition of the roadway about which a lot of neighbors are obviously concerned. A skilled personal injury lawyer will look into whether such a dangerous intersection or roadway may have contributed to this fatal pedestrian accident. If a hazardous intersection is believed to have been a factor, then the city of San Clemente could be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a government agency must be promptly filed within six months of the accident.
A knowledgeable auto accident attorney will also advise Lopez’s family that they may be able to receive compensation through Lopez’s own auto insurance policy, even if he was not driving at the time of the accident. If Lee did not have auto insurance or if he did not have sufficient coverage, then Lopez’s family may be compensated through the uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage of Lopez’s own auto insurance policy or the policy of any other member of the household. The best Orange County auto accident lawyers will offer a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.