Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Today we were saddened to read about a horrible wrong-way car accident which killed a 6-year-old boy and injured his mother and 10-year old brother on Interstate 5 near Vancouver, Washington this morning near exit 11.

Gage W. Musgrave, 84, the wrong-way driver was taken to Peace Health hospital for undisclosed injuries.

Musgrave mistakenly entered the highway either from a rest stop or off-ramp and Washington State Troopers believe that he only drove for several minutes on the highway before the car accident occurred.

Head-On Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009 there were 1,772 people killed in car accidents caused by wrong way drivers — drivers who are driving on the wrong side of the highway or road.

Two vehicles colliding head-on are some of the most devastating types of car accidents, often leaving people seriously injured or, as in this case, killed. A head-on collision must be one of the worst car accidents for first responders to have to deal with. The force of two vehicles travelling in opposite directions and colliding at high speeds can leave both vehicles mangled wrecks. The loss of life is heart breaking.

Most often when we see head-on collisions, alcohol or drugs are involved. In this accident, we do not know if that is the case at this time but the elderly driver at the wheel makes one wonder if the driver was confused, lost his bearings or if medications he might be taken caused him to be impaired.

In some head-on crashes, there can be multiple contributing factors including confusing or missing signage or poorly designed on/off ramps.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed with their wrongful death lawsuits.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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pedestrian-xing.jpgPedestrians who are struck by a car or a truck are often traumatized by the experience. Often, pedestrian accident victims sustain serious and life-altering injures and death. Pedestrians can receive disabling injuries even if they are hit by a car traveling at relatively low speeds. The higher rate of speed that the motor vehicle is going, the greater chance of disabling or fatal injuries. The Washington car accident attorneys at The Farber Law Group advise pedestrians and drivers to look out for each other as we approach spring.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provide some statistics related to pedestrian accidents:

  • 4,743 pedestrians were killed in 2012 after they were struck by a motor vehicle.
  • 76,000 pedestrians were injured in 2012 in auto-pedestrian accidents.
  • A substantial number of pedestrians were struck in non-roadway accidents such as a parking lot or driveway and therefore their injuries or deaths were not counted in official statistics.

Pedestrians age 70 and older are more likely to die after being hit by an automobile
Alcohol a factor in pedestrian accident deaths

Alcohol continues to factor into pedestrian accident deaths. Drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher were involved in 13% of the pedestrian accident deaths in 2012. Pedestrians own alcohol use is a factor in some fatal accidents. In 2012, 36% of the pedestrians older than 16 who were killed had a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

Steps to take if you were involved in a Washington car/pedestrian accident

If you have been struck by a car, truck or bus, be sure to call 911 so you can be assessed by a certified emergency medical technician at the accident scene. Sometimes, people who are struck are in shock and adrenaline can make it difficult to assess their own medical condition. If you are able to, please note the road conditions and get the names/addresses of any witnesses as well as the pertinent information of the driver who hit you.

The Farber Law Group recommends that you seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney so he/she can obtain copies of the police and EMT report and gather evidence and contact witnesses before information is lost.
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king county car accident lawyerI was in Los Angeles last week when I read a horrific news story in the Los Angeles Times about a wrong way drunk driver who collided head-on with another vehicle resulting in the death of six people. The driver of the red Camaro was speeding at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour when the accident occurred.

At first glance, I assumed that the wrong way driver was a young man because the car involved was a red “muscle car” and that the driver was speeding. I was wrong. The driver was 21-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath. All evidence points to the fact that Culbreath was driving under the influence at the time of the car accident. This was not her first driving under the influence arrest, she was convicted of drunk driving when she was 17 years old. Now she faces a lengthy jail term.

Prior to the horrific crash, at least 17 people had called 911 to alert authorities. Unfortunately, it appears that nothing could have been done to stop her that night. She killed a family of four and her own two passengers, one of which was her sister.

This accident points out the chilling fact that since the 1980s, the number of women arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) are female. Women are more likely to be using another substance and have mental disorders than males arrested for DUI.

In the greater Seattle area, we have had a few incidents of female wrong way female drunk drivers. In one, incident, a 60-year-old woman drove more than 17 miles on Interstate 5 in the wrong direction. In January of this year, a woman was arrested in downtown Seattle after driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 in the early morning hours. In September of 2013, Kelly Ann Hudson was convicted of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for killing an 81-year-old Kirkland woman and critically injuring one other person. Hudson was drunk and under the influence of prescription drugs when her car crossed the centerline and struck a small car head-on.

Women and Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is the number one reason women come into contact with the criminal justice system. Nationally, arrests for drunk driving is on the rise in the female population and has risen from the single digit numbers in the 80’s to almost 30% in 2007. In 2008, the Federal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) revealed that 1,837 people were killed in car accidents involving females driving under the influence.

A North Carolina study showed that between 1976-1985, alcohol-related crashes rose in the female population compared with a 27% decline among males in the same age group.

The following are some characteristics of female drunk drivers:

  • A New Mexico study found that 85% of females convicted of DUI had a alcohol problem.
  • Female DUI offenders are often diagnosed with a problem with opiates or other medications.
  • The average age of a female on their first DUI is 31. However, there seems to be a trend in which young women are being involved in risky driving behaviors.
  • Female DUI drivers are more likely to be single or divorced.
  • A 2000 New Mexico study revealed that females convicted of DUI have a lower recidivism rate than males but a more recent study in Maryland found no lower recidivism rate.

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seattle pedestrian accident lawyerFatal pedestrian accidents are on the rise in New York City and that is a just a microcosm of what is happening across the nation. In New York, when you compare the number of people killed by an unknown assailant to those killed in pedestrian accidents, the number is staggering. In 2013, 174 pedestrians were killed in New York while 29 people were killed by strangers.

In a New York Post article, a New York Police commander blames pedestrians for many of the accidents . His comments are very straight up and pedestrians every where need to take heed. Captain Michael Falcon said:

You see people, they’re not paying attention. They’re looking at their phones. … It’s mind-boggling the things that people do.”

Pedestrians everywhere are just not paying attention. People jaywalk, they dart into the street, they don’t cross at crosswalks, they ignore traffic signals and they don’t look and listen before they begin crossing a street.

It is important that pedestrians stay aware of their surroundings and follow laws against jay walking.

Distracted Walking

Many people think they can text and walk at the same times. In fact, more than 50% of all cell phone owners engage in distracted walking according to Pew Research. Every once in a while we will read an amusing story such as the one about an Australian woman who was so distracted while updating her Facebook page that she walked off of a pier. But the sad realities are that people are injured and also killed due to accidents when they are distracted.

Walking while talking or texting using a smartphone is definitely a pedestrian accident risk. A study published in the August 2013 issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention reported that people treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to walking and using a cell phone have been increasing and common injuries include fractures, concussions, sprains and of course

Summary of Washington State Pedestrian Laws

  • Pestrians must obey traffic signals. (RCW 46.61.050). 
  • Pedestrians must use sidewalks if they are available and if they are not, pedestrians must walk facing traffic. (RCW 46.61.261). 
  • Pedestrians must not bolt into traffic. (RCW 46.61.235). 
  • Pedestrians that cross street at other than marked crosswalks must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. (RCW 46.61.240).

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in pedestrian accidents caused by the negligence of another. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or a loved one has been killed after being struck by a passenger car, metro bus or a delivery truck, we advise you to contact a Washington pedestrian injury accident lawyer to be advised of your rights.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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autolights.jpgThe Washington State Patrol arrested a woman for investigation of driving under the influence after she drove the wrong way on Interstate 5 early this morning.

The WSP says that the woman entered I-5 in downtown Seattle around 4am this morning and drove and south on the northbound lanes.

Washington state troopers stopped the woman after she attempted to exit the highway near Southcenter.

Wrong-way drivers are a problem on our highways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report that 3% of all car accidents and 5% of all traffic fatalities are as a result of wrong way drivers.

The major cause of wrong-way driving is intoxicated driving. When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs , they can be confused, especially at night time.

Wrong-way driving can often result in a head-on collision, the most dangerous kind of accident which can result in catastrophic injuries or death.
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Mother’s Against Drunk Driving has issued their 2014 Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving — Report to the Nation and it has upgraded Washington State from 3-Stars to 4-Stars — on a 5 Star rating system — since 2012 because of the State’s continued efforts to curb drunk driving.

MADD’s campaign to reduce drunk driving focuses on enforcement of existing drunk driving laws, enhancing current laws and utilizing technology such as ignition interlock devices.

Ignition Interlock

Since 2006, 19 states have strengthened their drunk driving legislation, requiring all drivers convicted of drunk driving to install an ignition interlock device. Ignition interlock devices prohibit drunk drivers from getting on the road in the first place and reduces repeat DUI offenders.Washington passed the ignition interlock law, RCW 46.20.385 in 2009.

Ignition interlock devices are essentially breathalyzers which are connected to a motor vehicle’s ignition system and prohibit a driver from starting their automobile if their blood alcohol content is at prescribed percentage. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people arrested for the first time for driving while under the influence have, on average, driven drunk at least on 80 other occasions.

The ignition interlock system has been so successful nation-wide that, in July 2013, there were more than 305,000 ignition interlock devices installed nationwide.

Sobriety Checkpoints

drive_sober.jpgThe one area where MADD would like to see Washington State improve their enforcement of drunk driving laws is introduce sobriety check points. MADD claims that sobriety checkpoints could decrease drunk driving accident deaths by 20% by deterring drunk drivers.

In Washington, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission along with local law enforcement run emphasis programs with names such as “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” or “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” in which law enforcement runs emphasis patrols to target drunk drivers.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in auto accidents caused by drunken drivers and the family of those who have been killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
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KIRO News reports that a pedestrian was hit by a car as he was crossing 7th Avenue in Seattle’s University district on Friday night around 8:20pm.

The report said that the man was in dark clothing when he ran across the street and was struck by an Audi. The critically injured man was taken to Harborview Medical center for treatment.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the accident. At this time, the driver of the Audi has not been cited.

Distracted Driving

Unfortunately, since 2005, pedestrian and bicycle accidents have been on the rise. Science Daily in an article, “Distracted Driving Killing More Pedestrians, Bicyclists,” cites a University of Nebraska Medical Center study that reports distracted driving may be the cause of the increase at the same time that fatal car accidents are diminishing.

Science Daily cites an alarming nation statistic that from 2005 to 2010 the number of pedestrians struck and killed by distracted drivers increased 50% from 344 to 500. The number of bicyclist killed by motorist increased 30% from 56 to 73.

Distracted driving can include behaviors such as using a cell phone, eating or using other types of electronic devices.

Distracted Pedestrians

The use of cell phones is also dangerous when being used by pedestrians who become unaware of their surrounds. In the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention a published study found a wide range of injuries to pedestrians who were talking on their cell phones from being hit by a car or falling from a bridge. The number of pedestrians injured while using their cell phones is also on the rise.

We are living in a distracted world and, as an attorney who represents car accident victims, we urge people to change their attitudes towards using their cell phones and to be mindful of traffic whether driving a car or walking.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed.

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The Farber Law Group, a Washington car accident attorney, represents people who have been seriously injured by drunken drivers. The clients we represent are innocent victims who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes our clients are small children, teenagers, and the elderly who were traveling in the same vehicle as the drunk driver.

It is especially tragic when a parent entrusts the care of their own child to a friend, a family member, a bus driver, or a babysitter and, unbeknownst to them, that person drives drunk. Sometimes the parents do not know that their child was endangered until there is an accident.

One example of this was in September 2013 when a 36-year-old school bus driver, Melissa Forrest, was charged with DUI after she rear-ended a wheel chair van. She had students on her school bus at the time of the bus accident.

Children injured in drunk driving accident

closed-825531-m.jpgThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 211 children 0 to 14 years old were killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers in 2011. In half of those accidents, the child who died was in the same vehicle as the drunken driver.

Children who are riding with drunken drivers are also at risk because impaired drivers are less likely to properly buckle a child up. One study revealed that in car accidents where children were killed, sober drivers had properly used child restraints in 30.5% of the time compared with 18% for drivers who had been drinking.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving believes that drivers who drive with children in their vehicle when they are impaired are committing a criminal act of child abuse.and child endangerment and has worked tirelessly to increase penalties for these drivers. In Washington state, if an impaired driver is convicted of drunk driving with a passenger under the age of 16, child endangerment laws allow for an additional six months of using an ignition interlock device and an increased fine.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. Our personal injury law firm represents Washington car accident victims and the family of those who have been killed. If you have been the victim of a drunk driver, you are entitled to seek damages including medical costs, loss of wages and for pain and suffering.
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The Everett Herald reports Wayne Shkurhan, 53, of Snohomish was killed, and an unidentified Arlington man was injured in a head-on collision on U.S. 2 near Snohomish on Monday morning.

According to the report, the Ford F-250 pickup driven by the Arlington man crossed the center line and struck the Toyota Scion driven by Shkurhan. The car accident occurred around 5am.

The force of the collision caused both vehicles to roll.

The Washington State Patrol is seeking anyone with information about the accident to contact them at 360.654.1204. The cause of the accident is being investigated.

U.S. 2 has been the scene of 61 fatal car accidents in the past 14 years and in 35 of those accidents occurred when the a driver crossed the centerline.

U.S. 2 serves as the gateway to the Cascades and serves both recreational and freight drivers as well as communities along the highway and is one of three routes across the Cascade Mountains.

The Washington Department of Transportation has designated the 64 mile section of highway between Everett to Stevens Pass as a Safety Corridor and they have been working on reducing serious and fatal accidents. Roads designed as “safety corridors” have had a history of “significant collision problems.” One of the safety measures they took last February was to reduce the speed limit near Skykomish from 60 mph to 50 mph.
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seattle car accident lawyerKOMO News reports the Washington State Patrol said that 911 received 14 911 calls on New Year’s Day from people reporting an erratic driver on Interstate 5 on New Year’s Day near Lakewood.

Witnesses called 911 operators reporting seeing a blue Dodge Durango weaving, driving up onto the shoulder and even running into the median.

Washington State Patrol troopers were able to locate the driver after some witnesses followed the vehicle and reported its location. By the time troopers located the driver, his vehicle had been disabled after he struck the median multiple times. While the driver tried to leave the accident scene, he was apprehended by troopers.

The Troopers credit involved citizens from preventing an injury accident.

Spotting a Drunk Driver

This event shows how concerned citizens can protect themselves and other drivers from drunk drivers. If you see any of the following driving behaviors, don’t hesitate to call 911 as these may be signs of a drunk driver:

  1. A driver who suddenly accelerates or decelerates.
  2. A driver who is tailgating or following other drivers too closely.
  3. A driver who is weaving and changing lines often.
  4. A driver who is steering off of the road and on shoulders or lanes not designated for motorists.
  5. A driver who stops without a reason or who brakes often.
  6. A driver who fails to signal or signals and then does not follow through.
  7. A driver who stops suddenly or delays a start.
  8. A driver who consistently drivers over lane markers.
  9. A driver who is travelling more than 10 miles below the speed limit.
  10. A driver who abruptly turns.
  11. A driver who is driving the wrong way against traffic.

Steps to Take if You Are Sharing the Road with a Drunk Driver

Drunk drivers on the road endanger the lives our families and friends. If you witness a driver exhibiting behaviors of drunken drivers, you should know what to do. The following are some tips:

  1. Keep a distance between you and the other driver.
  2. Do not pass the erratic driver or try to get them to pull over.
  3. Note the road name and the vehicle’s license number and make, model and color of their vehicle.
  4. Pull over and call 911 and provide identifying information to the 911 driver. The Washington State Patrol or other police authorities will take it from there.

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