Oakland Attorney Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit on Behalf of Family of Truck Driver Killed on Bay Bridge S-Curve

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Lewis Van Blois, Bay Area personal injury attorney, representing wife and children of Hayward man killed last year when his big rig went over side of bridge

It was clear that the public was unaware of how sharp those curves were and how drastically you had to reduce your speed until after the accident

R. Lewis Van Blois, a Bay Area products liability and personal injury attorney, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of the family of a 56-year-old trucker killed when his big rig toppled over the side of the Bay Bridge last year.

The lawsuit, Tahir v. State of California Department of Transportation et al. (Case No. CGC-10-504862), was served against Caltrans and several companies, alleging negligence both on the loading dock and at the bridge's S-curve.

Hayward resident Tahir Sheikh Fakhar died when his truck, loaded with pears, plunged 200 feet off the northern side of the S-curve about 3:30 a.m. Nov. 9. Investigators indicated at the time that it appeared Fakhar was driving 10 mph over the 40 mph speed limit. The family's wrongful death lawsuit claims that the S-curve, introduced to drivers on Sept. 9, 2009, as part of the rebuilding of the Bay Bridge, didn't have adequate warning signs or other measures to alert drivers to the then-new roadway.

"It was clear that the public was unaware of how sharp those curves were and how drastically you had to reduce your speed until after the accident," said Van Blois, a highly regarded Oakland attorney and founding partner of Van Blois & Associates. "What this means in legal terms is that they created a concealed trap that surprised drivers and didn't give them the opportunity to make it through the curve."

After the fatal accident, Caltrans beefed up signage and added rumble strips, flashing lights and other advisories to notify drivers to slow down. The speed limit on most other sections of the bridge is 50 mph. About 43 documented crashes occurred on the S-curve prior to the fatal accident and virtually none after, according to Van Blois.

The complex lawsuit, filed on behalf of Fakhar's wife and two children, also claims that several companies involved in the loading, transporting and importing of the pears were also negligent, dangerously overloading the truck by more than 7,000 pounds beyond the legal 80,000-pound limit.

Van Blois & Associates has the experience and resources to effectively represent plaintiffs on personal injury, auto accident and wrongful death claims in the Bay Area. With more than 40 years of experience exclusively practicing personal injury and wrongful death cases, the firm knows how to get its clients the full compensation to which they are entitled. For more information, please call 510.635.1284 or go to http://www.vanbloislaw.com.

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