A new lawsuit illustrates some common factors in California wrongful death cases. After a tragic motor vehicle accident accident killed a California family, their loved ones are suing the truck companies and drivers involved. This is the first of two posts that will look at what happened and some special issues involved in this case.
Like many fatal California crashes, this was a truck accident. More than 10 percent of traffic fatalities involve crashes with large trucks. A California family of four was moving back to Sacramento from the east coast when the wreck occurred. While the father drove in one car, his wife rode with their young sons in a second car.
After they drove halfway across the country, things began to go wrong in Nebraska when a truck broke down several miles ahead of them. A second truck crashed into that one, causing a large fire that blocked both lanes. The family found themselves trapped in heavy traffic while they waited for responders to clear the road. However, while they were parked, another semi-truck slammed into both cars from behind. At the time, it was driving at full highway speeds approaching 75 miles per hour. All four people died instantly from the impact.
Now, after a month of investigation into the chain of events, the couples' parents are bringing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their children and grandchildren. Wrongful death claims allow family members to hold the other party accountable for the consequences of its misconduct. Wrongful death awards can also help provide for children or spouses who find themselves suddenly deprived of financial and emotional support.
Due to the facts in this case, the parents are pursuing several parties for their role in this tragedy. Check back later this week for more discussion.
Source: Contra Costa Times, "Dead family's relatives sue truckers for Neb. crash," Grant Schulte, Oct. 30, 2012