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Hazardous Road Contributes to Death of San Diego Teen

June 17, 2010

UNION TRIBUNE STAFF WRITERS Tanya Manners and Steve Schmidt reported that BreAnna Erickson,17 was fatally injured as a result of a auto accident on May 28, 2010. BreAnna was a passenger in her friend’s vehicle, which was traveling northbound on Saber Springs Parkway. According to authorities, the vehicle was speeding around a curve when it crossed into oncoming traffic and hit a box truck. Emergency responders used the jaws of life to remove BreAnna from the back seat, but she was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and four other passengers were transported by ambulance to local hospitals. According to residents who live near the crash site, the location of the accident has long been a neighborhood concern as speeding is a recurring problem on the two lane section of the parkway, which has a long sweeping bend. “It can get extremely bad” said Ron Leos, a 15-year-old resident. “I can see how the car lost control, coming around. I didn’t know these kids, but it’s so unfortunate.”

Our condolences go out to BreAnna’s family and friends.

Applicable California Law

BreAnna’s heirs will have wrongful death claims against all parties responsible for her death (see my prior blog posts for California’s law on wrongful death and survivor actions). The fact that the auto accident caused a wrongful death and several potential claims for personal injury, will require a comprehensive analysis of all potential parties responsible for causing the accident. The driver of her vehicle would be one party liable for the accident since they were speeding. But this raises the question as to whether the driver or the owner of the vehicle had adequate coverage to resolve all potential claims? There is no information as to nature and extent of the other occupants’ injuries; however, any time there is a wrongful death claim, concerns of the amount of available coverage is always at issue. Analyzing all of the factors contributing to the cause of the accident requires looking beyond the obvious. Since the location of the accident is of concern to nearby neighbors would indicate that there have been prior serious accidents at the location. The design and or the maintenance of the roadway could be a contributing factor to causing the accident. City, County, or State agencies could have potential liability for causing the accident and provide additional resources to help adequately compensate the injured or their families. Whenever public or government agencies have potential liability, special reporting requirements need to be strictly complied with as detailed in Government Code Section 945.4.

Auto accidents that cause wrongful death or serious injury are devastating to the injured and their families. A thorough analysis of issues relating to causation, liability or damages requires expert review and or opinion. Having the experience to recognize these issues and knowing which experts to consult with, is only one of the many benefits of talking to an experienced personal injury attorney

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