Dominic Loparenza, a 6-year-old Morgan Hill boy, suffered critical head injuries in a bicycle accident. According to an article in the Morgan Hill Times, Dominic was riding his bicycle without a helmet eastbound on Kalana Avenue at Santa Teresa Boulevard when 53-year-old Maria Scanlon, who was driving a Honda Odyssey southbound on Santa Teresa, hit the boy. Officials say in their report that Dominic suddenly made a U-turn into the path of the van.
Dominic is reportedly in critical but stable condition. He suffered a depressed skull fracture, according to California Highway Patrol officials. Investigators also say that alcohol or drugs were not involved in the incident and have not yet filed any charges against Scanlon.
This news report puts the blame for this California bicycle accident on Dominic. But something about the news account of the accident doesn’t add up. The information that the boy made a U-turn in the street in front of the Odyssey has not been attributed to anyone. If independent eyewitnesses and physical evidence (the relative positions of the bike and the car as well as the damage to each of the vehicles) confirm that Dominic did in fact, make a U-turn, I’d buy that story. Even if Dominic did make a U-turn into the path of the van, why didn’t the van stop in time? Why was the van so close that a sudden U-turn did not give the van adequate time to stop or change direction?
Without independent witnesses and physical evidence confirming the facts and circumstances of the incident, I would not buy the U-turn story if I were an attorney representing Dominic. If Dominic did make a U-turn in the path of the van, the van driver may still have been negligent and responsible for Dominic’s injuries
The Loparenza family need the best personal injury attorney they can get for this case. They will be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced, skilled and knowledgeable bicycle accident attorney who will do a thorough investigation. There attorney should be looking at other causes for this accident like a languorous intersection, bad brakes on the van and so on.
Please keep Dominic in your prayers. This is the type of accident that can cause life-long disabilities that I don’t even want to list. See our June 26 blog, “City of Hanford Settles Brain-Injury Car Accident Claim” for details about a very similar bicycle accident. In that case, 14-year-old Christopher Chan suffered brain injuries after he was hit by a vehicle at a dangerous intersection. But Christopher is alive today because he was wearing his bicycle helmet.
Please be sure your children wear helmets, whether they are biking, skating, rollerblading or skateboarding.