Can Step Children Bring a Utah Wrongful Death Claim?

In Utah, the following are wrongful death heirs: (1) the spouse of the deceased, (2) the children of the deceased under U.C.A. 75-2-114, and (3) the natural parents of the deceased.

Utah, however, is one of three states (along with California and Idaho) that have recently added step children to the list of Utah wrongful death heirs. Therefore, if you are a step child, then you may have a wrongful death claim if you are under the age of 18 (at the time of decedent’s death) and are “primarily financially dependent” on your deceased step parent.

Source: Utah Code 78B-3-105

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah wrongful death attorney.

West Jordan TRAX Accident Kills Teenage Girl

With the UTA TRAX growing throughout the Wasatch front, Utahans need to be more cautious than ever before. Shariah Casper, a 15 year old girl from West Jordan, passed away after being hit by a train near 3200 West and 8600 South.

As KSL reports, Casper, along with a friend climbed past the safety arms and warning lights after the first train passed, unaware of the second train passing in the opposite direction, just seconds after the first. The friend was able to avoid the second train. Casper, tragically was not.

Although the incident is still under investigation, it isn’t likely this situation was caused from an equipment malfunction. These trains can travel up to 65 mph, and is much harder to stop than people would like to assume. The safest bet, is to always obey the gates and lights, regardless if there seems to be merit in them. “Once those gates come down,” Gerry Carpenter, UTA spokesman warn, “there really isn’t time to cross.”

Our condolences go out to her family for having to go through such a devastating tragedy. Hopefully an accident like this can be prevented in the future by staying alert and following the rules with the growing TRAX system.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah wrongful death attorney.

Gabriel Perez-Guiterez Charged for Death of West Jordan EMT

As reported by The Salt Lake Tribune, Gabriel Perez-Guiterez of Salt Lake City was charged with homicide on Wednesday, June 29th in the Third District Court, for allegedly ramming his car into several stopped vehicles around 6 am at a Taylorsville intersection while drunk. This accident resulted in the death of Jonathan Bowers, a West Jordan EMT with GoldCross Ambulance.

Court documents state that Perez-Guiterez was driving approximately 75 mph in a 40-mph zone and had  a blood alcohol content of .11, with traces of marijuana in his system. Currently Perez-Guiterez is being charged with second-degree felony criminal homicide, third-degree felony leaving the scene of an accident, two class A misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence, a misdemeanor charge of driving with a measurable amount of marijuana in his system, driving on a suspended license and speeding.

My deepest condolences go out to Jonathan Bowers’ family. This tragic and senseless accident took the life of a young man who had dedicated his life to saving the lives of strangers. His career as an EMT was cut short by the carelessness of Perez-Guiterez.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah wrongful death attorney.

Wrongful Death Suit Over Fraternity Hazing Death at Cornell University

According to The New York Times, the mother of a 19-year-old Cornell University sophomore who died after drinking too much at a fraternity house has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the fraternity. The lawsuit alleges that when George Desdunes joined a chapter of Sigma Alpha Epislon at Cornell University, he was kidnapped in the early morning by fraternity pledges who bound his wrists and ankles with zip ties and duct tape, then forced him to drink until he passed out.

At autopsy, Mr. Desdunes had a blood-alcohol level of 0.409 percent, which is five-times the legal limit for driving in New York, the article stated. Since the incident Cornell University has withdraw the recognition of the fraternity and the chapter was suspended by the fraternity’s national headquarters.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mr. Desdunes during this difficult time. It is always trying to lose a child and when a death could have been prevented, as it could have been in this case, it is often harder. While Cornell University and the Sigma Alpha Epislon national headquarters are taking steps by not only closing the fraternity by suspending it, it won’t ease the pain for the loved ones of Mr. Desdunes.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah wrongful death attorney.

UTA Train Accident Kills Man in Layton

Anthony Kuhns, 20 years old, is dead after he was struck by a UTA FrontRunner train in Layton, Utah, on November 25, 2010. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Kuhns and his friend were walking to Walmart along the tracks when a southbound train came up suddenly behind them about 8:30 p.m. Kuhn’s friend managed to get off the tracks in time, but Kuhn was not so lucky. Police say the engineer says he blew his horn and hit the brakes before impact.

I send my condolences to the family and friends of Anthony Kuhns for his tragic death.

Police are still investigating the crash and will analyze the data from the event recorder. One question I have is whether the engineer should have seen the two men and sounded the train horn sooner. It sounds like the men had only seconds to make a decision to get off the track after realizing a train was behind them.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah wrongful death attorney.

Salt Lake City Airport Sued by Attorney in Wrongful Death Action

Patricia Jordan of Maryland was hit in an auto-pedestrian accident across from Terminal 2 at the Salt Lake City International Airport on July 22, 2008, while in town for a seminar. Now, her husband has hired a Utah personal injury attorney and has filed a wrongful death suit against the negligent driver and the Salt Lake City International Airport, reports the Deseret News. The lawsuit contends that airport officials ignored an airport employee who had previously warned them of the dangers to pedestrians crossing to the car rental area, which is where Jordan was struck and killed by driver Evelini Kinikini.

According to the story, airport employee Ian Shepherd had sent a letter after the fatal pedestrian accident to airport officials and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker claiming that they had ignored his prior warnings regarding pedestrian safety. Shepherd claimed that they had been warned just six days before this pedestrian accident happened. The wrongful death action asked for damages of at least $500,000 and attorney fees.

If government officials have notice of a dangerous condition, they are required to act on it to remedy the situation and at a minimum, warn others of the hazard. In this case, it sounds like they were adequately warned. The question is whether the complained-of risk should have been seen as sufficiently dangerous to protect against and/or warn the public about. As a Utah wrongful death attorney, I’ll continue to follow this interesting case as it progresses.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.

Taylorsville Hit and Run Accident Suspect Identified

Vicsayra Maribel Garcia died on July 23, 2010, from injuries caused by a person who hit her as she stood near a curb outside her home in Majestic Oaks near 800 West and 4600 South. The suspect then fled the scene. According to KSL News, Gloria Campos-Campos, 31 years old, is now believed to be that suspect who fled the scene after the hit and run a few days ago. Campos is now being charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and for obstruction of justice. The van that she was believed to have been driving was located earlier in the week. A warrant has been issued for her arrest. Although her last known address was in the Millcreek area, she now is believed to be living in California. Those who know of her whereabouts are asked to call the police at 801-743-7000.

I send my sincere condolences to the family of little Vicsayra for their tragic loss. Hopefully there will be a sense of some accountability with the recent warrant they have issued.

From the sound of the story, the accused came up on the curb to strike this toddler since she was said to have been standing on the curb – and not in the street. Since this hit-and-run happened around 7:30 at night, then lighting should not have been a problem.

I’m not sure why this woman fled the scene. If she hit the child because she was distracted for some reason by her cell phone, text messaging, etc., she should have admitted her fault and accepted the consequences. Same thing if she was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Those consequences, no doubt, would have been much less extreme compared to the consequences that come when you fail to stop after an injury/fatal accident.

The family is now left with a wrongful death claim against the driver of the mini-van and/or her insurance. Their own insurance may and most likely can be tapped in the form of an “underinsured” claim as well.

I would recommend that the family contact an experienced Utah wrongful death attorney who can advise them on what remedies are available in this situation in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.

Springville Utah High School Football Player Dies in Accident

Brandon Curtis, a football player at Springville High School, in Springville, Utah, passed away from a massive brain injury sustained following a parking lot accident Tuesday, July 27, 2010. According to KSL News, the four high school students had just finished football practice and got into one of the boy’s Jeep. None had seat belts on. The driver then made a very tight turn, over corrected, and lost control of the Jeep, causing it to roll. When the vehicle rolled, the occupants were ejected, including Brandon. Somehow, Brandon Curtis got caught under the Jeep and experienced a major traumatic brain injury. The other students have not been identified but are between 16 to 18 in age. Funeral arrangements are currently pending.

 

Video Courtesy of KSL.com.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Brandon Curtis. I could tell from the story that he was well liked and lived life to its fullest.

Legally speaking, the family of young Brandon Curtis has a claim against the driver of the Jeep he was in (unless he was the driver). The action of turning tightly in the school parking lot – in a Jeep – was a dangerous maneuver could have been expected to cause injury. This is especially true since it appears the boys in the Jeep were not wearing seat belts.

I would recommend that the family of Brandon Curtis contact an experienced Utah wrongful death attorney regarding the remedies that are available following this tragic accident.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.

Utah Oil Rig Accident Takes Man’s Life

Alan J. Eichelberger of Hansen, Utah was killed in work-related accident on an oil rig in Utah on Sunday, June 13, 2010. Uintah County sheriff and occupational safety and health investigators are investigating the accident, and so far few details are known. Mr. Eichelberger was wearing a hard hat, but was fatally injured when he was hit on the head by drilling equipment shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday. He was pronounced dead on the scene, reports KSL news.

I offer my condolences to the family of Mr. Eichelberger. Since this accident appeared to have happened while Mr. Eichelberger was on the job, then the family has a death claim against the workers compensation policy his employer carried for him. I would be interested, however, to know if anyone besides potentially himself or a co-worker contributed to this accident. This could then be considered a “third-party” liability issue that would allow a much greater range of compensation for Mr. Eichelberger’s family. I would recommend that the family consult with an experienced Utah personal injury attorney to explore the options and potential claims that could be made following this tragic death. The fact that there is an investigation going on tells me that there may be some issues that might implicate other third-parties in this incident.

The Kramer Law Group does not currently represent any of the parties referenced in the article at the time it was written. We have cited and linked to the source of our information. If you were involved in the above incident, or one like it, and have questions about your rights and possible remedies, you may call us or another reputable Utah personal injury law firm. Do not act based on the above information without getting a consultation. The best Utah personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation. We offer a free and confidential consultation to those (and their family members) not substantially at fault in causing their accident. The information and opinions expressed above are provided as a public service and should not be used in place of legal advice from a qualified attorney.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah wrongful death attorney.

Two Killed in Lindon, Utah Traffic Accident

Maria Esther, 67, and Aquistin Isas Rios, 76, both from Ogden, Utah were killed and four others were injured in a Lindon, Utah traffic accident that happened on Interstate 15 on May 11, 2010. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a Jeep Cherokee became undriveable after hitting the back of a semi truck in the right lane of the freeway. After this initial collision, the car had stalled in the right lane and the driver got out of his Jeep to check on the passengers. A small bread delivery truck the hit the left side of the Cherokee killing Ms. Esther and Mr. Rios. The Utah Highway Patrol states that the man driving, two children and the truck driver were also injured during the crash. The accident happened around 3:30 in the morning and the two right lanes were closed for several hours.

My heart goes out to the family of these two victims. I offer them my sincerest condolences.

As passengers in the car, the family of Ms. Esther and Mr. Rios would do well contacting a Utah wrongful death attorney who can help them recover costs for funeral expenses and pain and suffering.

The Kramer Law Group does not currently represent any of the parties referenced in the article at the time it was written. We have cited and linked to the source of our information. If you were involved in the above incident, or one like it, and have questions about your rights and possible remedies, you may call us or another reputable Lindon, Utah personal injury law firm. Do not act based on the above information without getting a consultation. The best personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation. We offer a free and confidential consultation to those (and their family members) not substantially at fault in causing their accident. The information and opinions expressed above are provided as a public service and should not be used in place of legal advice from a qualified Utah personal injury attorney.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation.