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Fatal I-5 crash raises questions about wrongful death liability

No case of suspected wrongful death is simple. But sometimes circumstances in a given case combine to create a massively complex web.

Untangling the web and determining the proper assignment of responsibility is likely not uppermost in the minds of loved ones of victims of a wrongful death accident, but getting to the bottom of things can be a time sensitive matter. From a legal perspective, adopting a sense of urgency could be crucial to ensuring that the survivors of such a tragedy get the full measure compensation that might be due.

A deadly accident that happened early last Saturday morning on Interstate 5 near Old Town San Diego seems to highlight this point well. As a result of it, a wife and three children are now without a husband and father.

According to the California Highway Patrol, a 42-year-old cab driver was driving south on the freeway about 2:30 a.m. when a suspected drunk driver coming the wrong ran head-on into his car. After the initial crash, the victim reportedly got out of his vehicle and that's when he was struck many times by oncoming traffic and killed. Meanwhile, the driver of the car involved in the first crash pulled a U-turn and fled the scene.

Authorities confirmed early this week that they have arrested a woman in connection with the original crash. They say she was booked on suspicion of felony counts related to driving under the influence, including vehicular manslaughter. She was also charged with fleeing the scene of an accident in which death or injury occurred.

In one respect, it might be easy to assign all the blame for this death on the person driving the car that caused the initial crash. But other drivers struck the man after he got out of his car. Should they all be held liable?

As of this past Monday, investigators said they still attempting to track down possible witnesses and determine how many vehicles actually struck the victim. 

Source: KNSD-TV, "CHP ID's Driver in Suspected DUI Crash That Killed Taxi Driver," Diana Guevara and Andie Adams, April 21, 2014

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