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UPDATE: Ram Bhatia Died In Fresno Car Accident With Drunk Driver By Friant Road and Copper River Road


Feb 24, 2019

Ram Bhatia Fresno Accident: 70-Year-Old Ram Bhatia Died After Being Hit By Drunk BMW Driver At The Intersection of Friant Road and Copper River Road

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA (February 24, 2019) – A 25-year-old BMW driver is being accused of hitting and killing 70-year-old Ram Bhatia as he was walking near Friant Road and Copper River Road. 

Fresno police are saying that they found a piece of the BMW’s weatherstripping at the scene of the crash. The driver of the BMW called police and told them that his car was stolen while he was eating at Applebee’s. 

But security footage showed the alleged drunk driver at Applebee’s eating and drinking before leaving in the BMW. Security footage at the intersection also showed the BMW driver speeding through a red light before hitting Ram Bhatia.

Instead of stopping at the scene, the driver kept going until his car broke down on Auberry Road. Police later apprehended the driver and charged him with felony hit-and-run, felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter. 

Ram Bhatia leaves behind a wife after 45 years of marriage. This is the third fatal accident at the intersection in recent years. Joe Martinez is a member of the Fresno Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. 

He remains concerned that this intersection may be dangerous. According to Martinez, “We need to look at how we design our streets, because it’s starting to look like our streets are dangerous by design.” 

Liability In Pedestrian Accidents

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), “Every day about 800 people are injured in a drunk driving crash.” Thousands more are killed every year in accidents involving drunk drivers. Drivers that break the law and cause an accident wile under the influence of alcohol may face civil as well as criminal liability. According to California Vehicle Code 23153, “It is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage, to drive a vehicle and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.”

There may be additional sources of liability in accidents involving a drunk driver. For example, a city may be liable for a pedestrian accident if it was proximately caused by a dangerous condition at an intersection. According to California Civil Code 835, “Except as provided by statute, a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if the plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred.” A plaintiff will need to demonstrate the following:

  1. The the defendant owned the property.
  2. The property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the accident. 
  3. The dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the type of injury that occurred.
  4. The defendant had constructive notice of the dangerous condition and failed to correct it. 
  5. The plaintiff sustained an injury from the accident.  
  6. The dangerous condition on the property was a substantial factor in causing the injury that the plaintiff sustained. 

When there is a history of accidents at an intersection this can put the city on notice that there is a dangerous condition that needs to be corrected. An intersection could be in a dangerous condition if it has improperly marked lanes, obstructed signs or visibility defects. The family of a pedestrian that died may be able to pursue a claim under California’s Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. A wrongful death attorney can investigate your claim free of charge and let you know what your options are. 

Investigating A Pedestrian Accident

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ram Bhatia. There have been a number of accidents at this particular intersection. City officials in Fresno should do their part and look into how this intersection can be made safer. It would be deeply unfortunate if another person were to be seriously injured or killed at this location. 

Have you or someone that you love been injured due to the negligence of a drunk driver. You may have legal recourse. Our team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We have resolved thousands of claims for our clients and care deeply that their needs are being met. Whether you just have questions about your rights after an accident or need a free investigation  into your case we are here for you. You’re always welcome to reach out to us at (888) 888-9285. 

Ram Bhatia

UPDATE: Ram Bhatia Died In Fresno Car Accident With Drunk Driver By Friant Road and Copper River Road

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