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San Bernardino Crash Proves Fatal for Man in Wheelchair

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David Rivera, 40, was killed in a San Bernardino County car accident after his motorized wheelchair was struck by an SUV. According to a news report in The San Bernardino County Sun, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred at the intersection of Seventh and Manzanita streets in Hesperia the night of August 7, 2012. Police say a Jeep that veered off the road struck Rivera. He died at the scene of the crash. Anyone with information about this fatal crash is asked to contact the Hesperia station at 760-947-1500.

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

Pedestrian Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were three fatalities and 13 injuries involving pedestrian accidents in Hesperia in 2009. In San Bernardino County as a whole, 39 people died and 440 were injured as a result of pedestrian accidents during the same year.

Laws and Liability Issues

Based on this news report, it appears that Rivera was at the intersection in a motorized wheelchair when the Jeep SUV veered and struck him. It is not clear at this time as to how or why the motorist lost control. Under California Vehicle Code Section 467 (b), the term “pedestrian” includes any person “who is operating a self-propelled wheelchair, motorized tricycle, or motorized quadricycle and, by reason of physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.” Motorists are required under California law to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are walking in marked or unmarked crosswalks.

I trust officials are looking into whether the driver in this case was under the influence, distracted, speeding or inattentive. If it is determined that the driver’s negligence caused this fatal crash, then, he or she can be held liable for Rivera’s wrongful death. In such cases, victims’ families can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. Victims’ families would also be well advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.

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