Last month, one teen was killed and two others were seriously injured when their car fell between 500 and 900 feet down a Los Angeles-area mountain. The driver of the car was reportedly speeding on a winding section of Glendora Ridge Road right before the crash. He was unable to navigate a right-hand-curve in the road, crashed through a barrier, and sent the car flying down Mt. Baldy. The driver and one passenger suffered serious injuries and another teenage passenger died because of the crash.
He may be facing legal consequences for his actions. The injured passenger and the family of the passenger who was killed in the Los Angeles accident may name the driver as a defendant in personal injury lawsuits. If the victims decide to take legal action, he could be held financially responsible for the damages sustained by the victims and their families.
Liability for Los Angeles Car Accidents
Victims of Los Angeles car accidents are entitled to recover compensation from anyone who is responsible for causing their injuries. Under California law, anyone whose negligence contributes to an accident can be held financially responsible. In order to be successful, a personal injury claim for damages must establish:
- The defendant had a duty to prevent foreseeable harm;
- The defendant breached this duty;
- This breach of duty caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury; and
- The plaintiff suffered actual harm.
The passenger who was injured in the Mt. Baldy crash will have to prove that the driver had and breached a duty to keep his passengers safe and, as a result, they were injured and/or killed. Early reports indicate that the driver was driving at “an unknown high rate of speed” at the time of the crash. As a driver on the road, the driver had a duty to obey traffic laws and drive with a certain degree of care. If it is determined that he was, in fact, speeding at the time of the crash, he would likely be considered negligent. If this negligence (speeding) was the result of the crash and injuries, the driver could be financially responsible for any damages that the injured passenger suffered.
If, for some reason, another person or entity contributed to the cause of the accident, the victims could also recover compensation from them. In California, each liable party will be held financially responsible to the degree they are at-fault. There were no details about the road conditions at the time of the accident. If it were determined that the road lacked necessary signage, lighting, or safety features to prevent accidents like this from happening, the victims could potentially recover damages from the government. Let’s say that it was determined that the driver was 90 percent at fault and Los Angeles was 10 percent at fault. the driver would be liable for 90 percent of the damages suffered by his victims and Los Angeles would be liable for the remaining 10 percent of the victims’ damages.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
One of the teenage passengers was killed in the Mt. Baldy crash. This teen’s family could decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver to recover monetary compensation for their loss. Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to personal injury lawsuits, except that the party bringing the suit is not the injured victim. Instead, the victim’s family files the claim to recover compensation for their own damages after the unexpected loss of a loved one.
If the family of the passenger who was killed in the crash files a wrongful death claim against the driver they will be required to prove:
- The driver acted negligently or recklessly;
- This conduct caused the death of their loved one; and
- They suffered actual harm as a result of their loved one’s death.
Recovering Compensation From a Negligent Party
What damages will the victims of the car accident be entitled to receive? The answer will depend on the specific injuries and harms they suffered because of the accident. Generally speaking, personal injury and wrongful death claimants can recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are awarded to compensate for verifiable accident-related expenses a victim (or their family) incurs. These damages will be limited to the specific financial costs that a victim suffers (or is projected to suffer). Economic damages that the victims of the Mt. Baldy car accident may be able to recover include:
- Medical expenses
- Nursing care
- Prescription medication
- Lost wages,
- Reduced earning capacity, and/or
- Funeral costs, including travel.
Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate for intangible harms that are the result of an accident. The value of non-economic damages is subjective and can vary from case-to-case. The victims of the Los Angeles crash may be able to recover non-economic damages to compensate for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and/or
- Loss of consortium.
Experienced Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys
Victims of Los Angeles accidents who hire an attorney are more likely to maximize the compensation they recover for their injuries. If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a Los Angeles car accident call Citywide Law Group for help. We understand that this is a difficult time in your life and will fight to make sure the at-fault party is held accountable for their actions. We will make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries so that you can begin to move on with your life.
Contact our Los Angeles car accident attorneys today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, determine potential liability, and explain the steps involved in filing a claim.