Los Angeles County fire Capt. John Ellis, 55, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Lancaster, according to a CBS News report. The fatal motorcycle accident occurred at 70th Street West and Avenue I Saturday night when the 42-year-old driver of a Chevrolet pickup truck pulled into the intersection in the path of the motorcycle, which then struck the pickup. Ellis was taken to a hospital in Antelope Valley where he was pronounced dead. All the occupants of the pickup truck were reportedly uninjured.
My deep condolences to the family of Capt. Ellis as well as his friends and co-workers in the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
There are few details about the motorcycle accident that have been released. According to the reports I read the pickup truck pulled into the path of Ellis at the intersection and he and his motorcycle struck the pickup Clearly it appears the driver of the Chevy pickup was at fault for failing to yield right of way to through traffic at that intersection. The driver probably just did not see the motorcycle approaching the intersection, which is common in these types of accidents.
According to research published by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, five crash types account for 86 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes: motorcycle runs off road (41 percent); motorcycle or other vehicle runs traffic control (18 percent); head-on collision(11 percent); vehicle turns in front of motorcycle (8 percent); and motorcycle goes down in roadway (7 percent).
I strongly urge Capt. Ellis’ family to retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable California motorcycle accident lawyer, who will conduct a thorough, independent investigation. A skilled personal injury attorney will also look at other factors that may have played a part in the accident, such as other vehicles that were involved or a dangerous road condition.
Many factors cause or contribute to fatal collisions such as a dangerous intersection, non-functioning lights, mechanical problems with vehicles, vehicle defects and failures or hazardous conditions on the road. An experienced attorney will visit that Lancaster intersection to see whether it was a dangerous intersection, if anything was obstructing the view of the pickup truck driver, if something prevented him from seeing the motorcycle.
If Ellis’ family has any thoughts or intentions of eventually pursuing their legal rights, it is very important for them to preserve the motorcycle and for an expert to promptly examine it closely for all types of evidence. If there is any chance of a claim against a governmental agency, it needs to be properly filed with 180 days of the accident.
Let’s face it, the Ellis family has lost a lot more than money can replace. However, they likely are going to need all the compensation they are entitled to. In order to fully recover everything they are entitled to, they are going to need one of southern California’s truly talented personal injury attorneys on their side.