A 35 year old man from Murrieta, CA is dead, and two others are recovering in a hospital, following a single vehicle crash on the morning of April 30th, 2013, just before 7:00 am in Los Banos, CA.
According to reports, the vehicle, identified as a 2004 GMC utility truck, was traveling westbound when it veered, struck a guardrail, became airborne, and fell off the road into an irrigation canal below. On impact, the vehicle caught fire. The deceased man, whose name was withheld, was occupying the middle seat of the single row work truck – it is unknown whether or not he was wearing a seat belt, and it is further unknown whether he was killed by the fall or the fire, but he was pronounced dead by responding firefighters at the scene.
The two surviving occupants, two young men both 21 years old, occupied the driver’s seat and right side passenger seat, respectively, and both were transported to area hospitals with major injuries as well as burn injuries from the resulting fire.
Civil Liability in Car Crashes
When a person is killed in a car crash that was not his or her fault, the surviving family of the deceased is generally allowed to seek wrongful death damages from the responsible party in civil court. Even though a person may never be charged in criminal court, which carries the risk of incarceration, that person may still be found liable for wrongful death damages in civil court, where the consequence is monetary loss.
In the case above, it is too early to determine where the fault for the death should lie. Was it the driver’s poor driving? Was it the unsafe nature of the vehicle? Was it an artificial road condition? Was it another driver on the road that caused the driver in the crash to veer off the road? These are all important questions which will hopefully be answered as soon as the other occupants in the vehicle are able to effectively communicate with accident investigators.
No matter what an accident investigator finds, whether it is criminally negligent behavior or a pure but devastating accident, the surviving family of any deceased victims can retain expertise of a car accident lawyers to seek wrongful death damages from anyone who may have been responsible for the resulting death. If it was the acts of a conglomerate of parties, then each one may be pursued for equivalent damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
Typically, wrongful death damages can include compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages if the deceased was a breadwinner, and even damages for loss of consortium. Exactly what type of damages the family of the deceased may be entitled to in a wrongful death case will depend heavily on the facts involved, which is why anyone who has lost a loved one in a vehicle accident should speak with a wrongful death lawyer. The attorney will review the facts of the case and will be able to make an assessment as to the merits of the case and a recommendation as to whether or not wrongful death charges should be pursued.