Michelle Kim, 54, of Redondo Beach died in a Newport Beach pedestrian accident on Monday morning after she was hit by the driver of a Honda Odyssey while walking to her job at Glidewell Laboratories near the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and Dove Street. According to an article in the Daily Pilot, 35-year-old Sung Van Le of Santa Ana was not speeding or driving under the influence when he hit Kim.
This was a tragic accident and I offer my condolences to Kim’s family for their loss. This accident happened right in front of our office and I watched a portion of the investigation. Although I did not know Kim, I will always remember her when I leave the office for home as I pass over the exact spot where this fatal Newport Beach pedestrian accident occurred.
From the newspaper reports, it is not clear why this accident happened. Le reportedly said he saw Kim on the sidewalk before the collision. The best I can figure at this point is that both Kim and Le were not paying attention to their surroundings or their relative positions immediately before the collision. From a legal standpoint, based upon the point of impact that I saw marked on the street, Le would have had a clear sight of Kim crossing the street in front of him.
The fact that Le saw Kim on the sidewalk and had a clear line of sight for the approximate 200 feet from the time he turned onto Newport Place to the point of impact, if I were representing Kim’s heirs, there is not much doubt that I would be able to hold Le civilly responsible for Kim’s death. On the other hand, I am sure there are talented defense attorneys that would advocate the position that Kim was fully or partially responsible for her own pedestrian accident. They would argue that Kim was jaywalking and stepped out into the path of Le’s car without sufficient time or distance for Le to react to prevent the accident from happening.
Kim’s family will be well served to retain a Newport Beach personal injury law firm with decades of experience in auto versus pedestrian fatal accidents and a strong reputation with auto insurance companies and their defense law firms. From everything I see, Kim’s heirs are entitled to substantial financial compensation. If Le is uninsured or if his auto insurance policy is not large enough to cover the full extent of the compensation that Kim’s heirs are due, there is the issue of “uninsured” and “underinsured” insurance coverage either on Kim’s auto insurance policy or any other policy that she may have benefits under.
A truly skilled traffic collision attorney will know the ins and outs of both the “uninsured” and “underinsured” provisions of auto insurance polices.
Le on the other hand should immediately contact his auto insurance carrier. They will analyze the police report, take a statement from Le and provide him a complete defense. As an extra precaution, Le would be well served by consulting a personal injury defense law firm of his own choosing to advise him of his defenses to the California pedestrian accident claim and his contractual rights contained in his auto insurance contract.