Shortly before 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6th, 38-year-old Jeanette Ogara was killed in a canon explosion in Potrero. The accident occurred while Ogara’s common-law husband, 39-year-old Richard Fox, was experimenting with a homemade cannon. After being loaded with fireworks, the device exploded. Ogara was hit with shrapnel while inside the couple’s mobile home with their 4-year-old daughter and three other adults, none of whom were injured. Fox, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time, was arrested on charges relating to the negligent discharge of explosives causing injury.
“When a person’s actions fail to meet the standards of behavior established under the law to protect society from the unreasonable risk of injury, that person may be found negligent and held accountable for the consequences of his or her actions,” explained California personal injury lawyer James Ballidis.
Under California Penal Code Section 18710 (a), any person or entity possessing any destructive device, other than fixed ammunition of a caliber greater than .60, in the state is guilty of a public offense. According to Section 18755 (a), any person who willfully and maliciously explodes or ignites any destructive device or any explosive that causes death to another is guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.
In addition to facing criminal charges, an individual whose negligent actions cause the death of another may also be subject to civil actions: Under California Civil Code Section 1714, “Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of… willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person.”
Civil actions can take the form of claims for compensatory damages for personal injury or wrongful death resulting from an individual’s negligence. In the case of personal injury, such damages may include medical-related expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Damages in a wrongful death action may include compensation for economic loss and emotional suffering resulting from the loss of the loved one.
All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to offer our condolences to the family of Jeanette Ogara, the woman killed in the cannon explosion yesterday.
The Los Angeles Times originally reported this Potrero accident.
Resources for accident victims and their families, including books and articles on the process of pursuing an injury or a wrongful death claim, are available to the public free of charge.
To request one of these free resources, or to speak with a California personal injury lawyer, feel free to call 866-981-5596.