An elderly SUV driver gave patrons of a shopping center quite the start when she drove her car through a clothing boutique, an empty store space, and a deli. The accident occurred on the morning of March 25th, 2013 in Fair Oaks, California.
Video surveillance from one of the stores that the woman drove through shows her vehicle slowly driving into a parking spot, before quickly thrusting forward and through the clothing boutique’s shop windows. After driving through the glass of the store’s windows the vehicle made a sharp left turn, drove through a wall into an empty storefront and through another wall into a deli. Upwards of 40 people were in the deli at the time of the crash and a few people were in the boutique but, amazingly, no serious injuries were reported.
The elderly driver and her husband, who was a passenger in the SUV, suffered minor scrapes, but are expected to be okay. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but it appears from video surveillance that the driver mistook the gas for the brake.
Fortunately for All, No Major Injuries
The fact that nobody was hurt when the woman drove through the shops is a good thing for everyone involved. Not only were unsuspecting patrons saved from injury, the driver of the vehicle was also saved from a personal injury lawsuit.
The fact that a driver is elderly is generally not a defense to injuries caused as a result of driving a car through a store or crowd of people. Drivers of any age can be found liable for injuries caused by their negligence or recklessness behind the wheel.
The Risk of Injuring Others
When the driver of a vehicle plows through a store or crowd of people, anyone injured by the collision has the right to seek monetary compensation from those responsible for the injury. This kind of compensation is known as “damages”, and can be awarded for pain and suffering, medical expenses, the cost of physical therapy, and, if an injury is serious enough that it prevents a person from working, lost earnings / wages.
After an Accident
After a person is injured by someone operating a motor vehicle, medical attention should be sought immediately. As soon as injury victims are able, they should then contact a local car accident lawyer, and should refrain from giving statements to accident, insurance, and police investigators until an attorney is consulted.
Investigators will no doubt have several questions for injury victims, but waiting to speak with an attorney in no way hurts an investigation and actually helps ensure that any statements made by victims are understood and reported as accurately as possible. Another reason it is a good idea to speak to an accident lawyer is because, historically, those who work with an attorney are more likely to recover damages than those who don’t. Unfortunately, this is because insurance representatives know that people don’t know enough about the law to pursue all of the damages they may be entitled to, and use the fact that victims are unrepresented by counsel to talk them into lower settlement offers.