Two-car accident raises possible wrongful death issues

Serious car accidents can go into one of two paths when it comes to potential legal claims: the personal injury path, in which those injured in the crash can attempt to recover money damages for their injuries and property damage, and in the worst-case scenario relatives of people killed in the accident can initiate a wrongful death action.

A recent accident in Hacienda Heights offers an example of how the second path might work. According to police and witnesses, a vehicle exiting a freeway at an excessive rate of speed ran a stop sign at the end of the offramp, then failed to hold a turn that its driver attempted to make. That led to the car hitting a concrete median with sufficient force to catapult it into the air, and during its flight it struck a pickup truck and sheared off its cab. Two occupants of the pickup died at the scene; the driver and a passenger of the car were both seriously injured.

A wrongful death action can be based in negligence, and in this case such a cause of action may be bolstered by potential statutory violations on the part of the driver of the car (excessive speed and running a stop sign). This can lead to a question of whether those violations can be used in an argument of negligence per se, which would if successful possibly make it easier to prove negligence.

Car accidents can raise complex issues of actual and proximate causation as well as legal tactical considerations. A personal injury law firm that includes automobile accidents in its practice can help victims of collisions to sort out the facts, to identify all possible defendants, and to determine what legal theories are available upon which to base legal claims for compensation.

Source: KTLA, “Emotional Vigil Held for Teen Couple Killed in Hacienda Heights Crash; Driver ID’d,” Tracy Bloom, Mark Mester, Steve Kuzj, Melissa Pamer, Kennedy Ryan, Oct. 20, 2015