Leonardo Cellura Lafayette: Leonardo Cellura Killed In Lafayette Amazon Delivery Truck Accident While Riding Bicycle On Merriewood Drive
LAFAYETTE, CALIFORNIA (July 29, 2020) – A 10-year-old boy riding a bicycle identified as Leonardo Cellura has tragically died in an Amazon delivery truck accident in the East Bay.
California Highway Patrol are saying that the accident took place around 12:48 p.m. along Merriewood Drive on Tuesday. Leonardo Cellura was riding his bicycle when he was hit by a Amazon delivery truck.
Paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help Leonardo Cellura who was suffering from head trauma and heavy bleeding. He was rushed to the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek but later died due to his injuries.
Police interviewed the driver of the Amazon delivery truck and took a sample of their blood. A full investigation into the cause of the accident remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In Lafayette Amazon Delivery Truck Accidents
Being a delivery truck driver for Amazon can be stressful at times. Amazon has high standards for their drivers and require that contractors deliver 999 out of 1000 packages on time. As you may imagine, Amazon delivery trucks have been involved in a fair number of accidents. According to one report from the NY Times, “An investigation by ProPublica identified more than 60 accidents since June 2015 involving Amazon delivery contractors that resulted in serious injuries, including 10 deaths.” There are a number of common factors that contribute to delivery truck accidents including:
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Unfamiliarity with roadway
- Roadway problems
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
In one fatal accident the Amazon delivery truck driver told police that he was running late and failed to spot the car in front of him. Accidents like this are not uncommon in the transportation industry. At least 10% of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents reported feeling under pressure from work. Even fatigue can have deadly consequences. The Centers For Disease Control estimates that staying awake for only 18 hours reduces driving ability equivalent to driving with a BAC of 0.05%.
Amazon delivery trucks will typically be considered “common carriers” under the law. As such, they are held to a high standard in terms of safety. According to the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, “Common carriers must carry passengers [or property] safely. Common carriers must use the highest care and the vigilance of a very cautious person. They must do all that human care, vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under the circumstances to avoid harm to passengers[or property].” Delivery truck drivers must not operate their vehicles with a BAC of 0.04% or higher. This is half the limit for non-commercial drivers.
All Amazon delivery drivers have a legal obligation to scan the road for pedestrians and avoid hitting them even if they are outside of lawfully marked crosswalks. According to California Vehicle Code 21950 (c), “The driver of a vehicle approaching a pedestrian within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.” There are a number of factors that make Amazon delivery trucks particularly dangerous:
- Commercial trucks tend to have large blind spots. Its easy for a pedestrian – especially a child – to be completely obscured in the blind spots.
- Delivery trucks are heavy and can take much longer to stop than a passenger vehicle. All drivers should be familiar with how their vehicle handles when it is fully loaded.
- Commercial trucks can be prone to mechanical failures due to their constant use. It is imperative that these trucks are serviced regularly and that logs of those service records are preserved.
Generally speaking, companies are liable for the negligent actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties. But Amazon has worked hard over the years to escape liability involving its drivers. For example, Amazon typically categorizes their truck drivers as “independent contractors.” Within these contracts are an indemnity clause that releases Amazon as a corporation from liability in the event of an accident. In general, corporations will not be vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their independent contractors.
However, a number of lawsuits have come forward challenging corporations like Uber and Lyft that have tried to classify their drivers as “independent contractors.” California, for example, has sued Uber and Lyft claiming that their drivers are being misclassified and should be treated as employees. A similar lawsuit has been brought against Amazon in the state of Washington. A federal judge has ruled against Amazon and that its contract truck drivers were being misclasified as “independent contractors.”
Liability for an accident may extend beyond a negligent driver. For example, a city may be liable for an accident under California Government Code 835 if it was caused by a dangerous condition on public property. There are a number of ways that an intersection could potentially be in a dangerous condition:
- The intersection may have an obstructed line of sight. This may occur if trees, buildings or other large objects obscure pedestrians or other drivers in the road.
- The road or intersection may lack adequate safety features like stop signs or street lights. If a road has a history of accidents a city should typically take action to correct any issues that may cause this.
The family of any victim that died in an Amazon delivery truck accident may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Potential beneficiaries in a civil claim will normally include a victim’s parents, siblings, spouse and children. In order to win a civil claim plaintiffs will have to demonstrate negligence:
- 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
It’s important that evidence is properly preserved after an accident. Witnesses should be interviewed. Surveillance footage should be sought. The Amazon truck driver’s work schedules and vehicle maintenance logs should be subpoenaed. A truck accident attorney can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Lafayette Amazon Delivery Truck Accident
We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Leonardo Cellura. Any person that may have seen what happened should reach out to police as they continue their investigation. There needs to be some accountability for what happened for the sake of the victim’s family. It is our sincere hope that city officials will examine this road and look into what measures can be put in place to help make it safer.
Do you need more information about an accident that took place in Lafayette? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any legal questions that you may have. We are committed to making sure that accident victims are aware of their rights and that affirmative steps are being taken across California to make the roads safer for everyone. Whether you just have questions about the law or need a free, independent investigation into an accident we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us anytime at (888) 888-9285.