Paratransit Driver Neglects Duty, Failing to Escort Dialysis Patient to Door – Fatal Outcome Unfolds


A jury in Los Angeles County has ordered a transit service to pay $17.5 million to the family of a disabled man who died after being dropped off in front of his home after dialysis treatment and hurt badly.

In March 2020, 61-year-old Guillermo Aviles hurt himself when he fell to the street soon after getting out of an Access Services car. Later that year, Aviles’ family sued, saying the van driver wasn’t walking him to his door. On Tuesday, an L.A. County Superior Court jury agreed and gave the eight-figure settlement.

Access Services helps disabled people in the county get where they need to go.

The family’s claim says that Aviles, who had seven children and used to work for the county MTA, went to a dialysis center in Long Beach on March 27, 2020. He was very tired after the treatment for his failing kidney, but the Access Services driver didn’t walk him from the car to his front door. This is called “beyond the curb” service.

Carlos Juarez, the driver, dropped off Aviles, and the video from the van shows him walking around the car to get back into the driver’s seat. Aviles can be seen hunched over on the other side of the van before he falls in the middle of the street.

A doctor put Aviles on life support, and he died in June 2020, a few months after being hospitalized.

“Safety is of the utmost importance when a public agency is in charge of transporting a vulnerable population,” said Raphael Javid, the lawyer who helped the Aviles family sue the county.

“During the whole case, Access Services never took responsibility for what they did.” The driver still works for Access, even though all twelve jurors agreed that his carelessness was what killed Mr. Aviles, Javid said. “They haven’t done anything to fix any mistakes or problems that led to this accident.”

On its website, Access Services says that it offers “curb-to-curb” service, but it also says that qualified customers can get “beyond-the-curb” service, which is what Javid says Aviles signed up for in his profile.

Private transit companies are hired by the county office to provide the rides. The government says that the service moves about 108,000 disabled people on 3.1 million trips each year.

According to the lawsuit, Aviles’ family said they had reported many times that drivers did not help Aviles past the curb.

Access Services did not answer right away when asked for a statement.

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