Long Beach family awarded $17.5 million in death of father, a dialysis patient, after fall

Anabel Munoz Image
Saturday, December 16, 2023
Long Beach family awarded $17.5M following death of dialysis patient
Guillermo Aviles Sr.'s children are grieving their father's death and the memories he can no longer make with his family.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- At the Aviles family home in Long Beach, Guirlyn Aviles reads a letter that she wrote her father about one month after he died.

"I remember all the grandkids were in your room, making loud noises and playing while you were resting," Aviles said in an interview with ABC7. "You loved to have the little ones around."

Aviles and her siblings are grieving their father's death and the memories he can no longer make with his family. March 2020, following dialysis treatment, 61-year-old Guillermo Aviles Sr. was dropped off at his home by a driver of Access Services, a paratransit provider. Video obtained by the family's lawyers shows Mr. Aviles slowly gets up and walks down a ramp, appears to bend down to pick up a backpack the driver placed on the ground, and falls forward.

He "hit his head inside of the pothole, broke his neck, became quadriplegic, and was hospitalized for three months until he ultimately died," said attorney Raphael Javid.

A jury found that the negligence of Access Services was a significant factor in causing or contributing to the harm Mr. Aviles suffered. "For, you know, some of their riders -- especially dialysis patients -- their riders are supposed to be assisted to the door," said Javid.

This month, a second jury awarded the family $17.5 million. The agency said it cannot discuss ongoing litigation.

"No money is worth having lost a parent. We'd prefer to have our parent with us," said Aileen Aviles.

"You always want to take care of your, the elderly, your family, you know. Cherish those moments with them because you just never know," said Alexander Aviles.

The seven siblings who lost their mother before their father are navigating grief; ordinary and special days without the parents they hoped to honor and care for as they aged.

"As much as this is the family home it doesn't feel that way," said Crystal Sararana, recalling festive Christmas gatherings with her parents.

Today was the birthday of the eldest sibling, Ulyses Guiller E. Aviles.

"First thing I did was, you know, I thanked God for another year," he said. "Just talked to my parents and said, 'You know, it's my birthday. I'm gonna come by and visit you guys after when I'm done here.'"

The couple immigrated from the Philippines, lived humbly, and worked hard to bring their children to the U.S. "Dad bought a bicycle for their transportation to drop off my mom at her work," recalled Guillerlyne Karen Aviles.

The elder Aviles retired after working as a bus driver.

"Miss you guys. We love you," said Ulyses Guiller E. Aviles. "We already got the verdict. We're happy. We're almost at the finish line."