Augustus Staton Cotati: Augustus Staton Killed In Cotati Car Accident With Commercial Van Near Helen Putnam Park Along Myrtle Avenue and Macklin Drive
COTATI, CALIFORNIA (November 18, 2020) – A 55-year-old man identified as Augustus Staton has tragically died in a car accident with a commercial van near the entrance to Helen Putnam Park.
Cotati police officials are saying that the collision took place on Tuesday around 12:30 p.m. near the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Macklin Drive. Augustus Staton was walking his dog when the driver of the white commercial van struck him.
The force of the impact knocked the victim to the ground but his dog was unharmed in the accident. Paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help Augustus Staton.
Despite life-saving measures he was pronounced dead at the scene. Cotati investigators are still working to determine if charges will be filed against the driver of the van.
There was a stop sign directly in front of Augustus Staton. It remains unclear if the driver of the van ran the stop sign.
Liability In Cotati Car Accidents
California remains one of the most dangerous states for pedestrians. According to the Cal Street Blog, “Between 2008 and 2017, 7,127 people in California were killed while walking, putting California’s PDI at 68.2, while the national average was 55.3. Pedestrians made up 22 percent of all California vehicle-related fatalities during that period–in the nation as a whole that was 14.2 percent.” There are a number of common reasons that pedestrian accidents take place:
- Pedestrians have a small profile and are therefore more likely to be overlooked in accidents.
- Drivers may be fatigued. In fact, fatigue can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence.
- Drivers may make illegal maneuvers like running stop signs.
- Drivers may be under the influence of prescription medications.
All drivers must exercise due care in order to avoid hitting pedestrians in the roadway. According to the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, “A person must use reasonable care in driving a vehicle. Drivers must keep a lookout for pedestrians, obstacles, and other vehicles. They must also control the speed and movement of their vehicles. The failure to use reasonable care in driving a vehicle is negligence.” Drivers that fail to use reasonable levels of care to avoid pedestrians will typically be liable in the event of an accident.
If the driver of a commercial van was working at the time of an accident the company that they were working for could be held at fault. Under common law companies are normally vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees. However, this is only true if the employee was working within the course and scope of their job duties. For example, the driver of a commercial van may have been on his way to an assignment. Courts will look towards a number of facts to determine if a worker was acting within the “scope of their employment.”
- The intentions of the employee at the time of the accident
- The nature and place of the employee’s conduct
- The type of work that the employee was hired for
- The amount of freedom allowed to the employee in performing their duties
However, many companies will try to avoid liability for accidents by hiring “independent contractors.” Generally speaking, companies will not be liable for the negligent actions of the independent contractors that they hire. It is important to determine the nature of a driver at the time of a collision. In order to demonstrate negligence a plaintiff must demonstrate that:
- The defendant owed the victim a legal duty of care
- That duty of care was breached
- The breach was the proximate cause of the accident
- The plaintiff sustained damages
If a defendant injures or kills someone while violating a statute (e.g., running a stop sign) they could be liable under the doctrine of negligence per se. Defendants can rebut the presumption of their negligence by showing evidence that:
- His/her violation of the law was reasonable under the circumstances
- The violation was reasonable given the defendants age or disability
- The defendant used reasonable care to comply with the law
- Compliance with the law involved a greater risk of harm than violating the statute
- The defendant was facing an emergency not created due to heir own conduct
The family of any victim that died in a car accident may be able to seek justice through California Civil Code 377.60. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, companies will often fight hard to deny any responsibility for pedestrian accidents. They will try to blame the victim or other drivers. A car accident attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and get to the bottom of what may have caused an accident.
Investigating A Cotati Car Accident
We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Augustus Staton. Any person that may have seen what happened should reach out to police as they continue their investigation. It is our sincere hope that measures are put in place to prevent additional car accidents by Helen Putnam Park. City officials should examine this stretch of road and look into measures that could potentially make it safer.
Do you need more information about an accident that took place in Cotati? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to making sure that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have questions about the law or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.