UNION TRIBUNE Pauline Repard reported that Elizabeth Belete,19, and Cassandra Robinson, 21, received fatal injuries and another person was critically injured in the City Heights area as a result of an auto accident at around 7 p.m. on October 9, 2010. The hit-and-run accident happened on state Route 15, at or near the southbound transition lanes to I-805, causing both vehicles to fly off the freeway. According to CHP officers, both of the woman who were killed were ejected from one vehicle, were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. The three occupants of the second vehicle were trapped for a period of time before being rescued . One of the occupants sustained serious injuries, the other two reportedly left the scene before police arrived. Investigating officers said “We are treating this like a crime scene.”
Applicable California Law
The driver of the second vehicle who left the scene could be charged with felony hit and run (see my prior Blog post San Diego Hit-And-Run Auto Accident Causes Severe Brain Injury for California Hit and Run Law). Since the accident is still under investigation, one or both drivers could be found to be at fault. Irrespective of who caused of the accident, they will be liable to the heirs for the wrongful death of the victims who lost their lives (see my prior Blog post Escondido Auto Accident Fatally Injures Man In Wheelchair for California Law on Wrongful Death). Furthermore, they would be liable for the personal injury and property damage sustained by the others involved in the accident. There could also be potential products liability claims by the heirs of the deceased against the manufacturer and distributor of the vehicle occupied by the ones ejected, if their vehicle was found to be defective and contributing to their deaths (see my prior Blog post Valley Center Man Killed in Oceanside Work Accident for California Law on Products Liability).
A Saturday night outing turns into tragedy. Determining who is at fault and responsible for the claims of the injured or the heirs of those who lost their lives can be complicated. Auto accidents, truck accidents, and bus accidents resulting in wrongful death, brain injuries, or serious spine injuries can change the lives of those injured and their families. Having the advice and guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney before speaking with any insurance company is critical to preserving the rights of those who have sustained a loss.