Last spring, two teens were driving home from a spring break bonfire when they began to race one another on California State Route 52. Before long, their speeds began to exceed 100 miles per hour. Suddenly, one of the teens, a 16-year-old who had only had his driver’s license for five months, crashed his vehicle, causing three of his four passengers to be killed and the fourth to be seriously injured. Media reports do not indicate that the driver suffered any major injuries in the crash.
Within the last two months, the parents of one of the deceased teens and the parents of the injured teen have both filed wrongful death lawsuits against the driver that caused the accident in San Diego Superior Court. The driver’s parents are also named in the lawsuit, as is the driver of the car against which the teen was racing.
In addition, there is a claim pending against the California Department of Transportation, which alleges that the section of the freeway on which the fatal accident took place was dangerous and in need of repair. Specifically, that portion of the road has a series of “dips” or “swells” which contributed to the teen driver’s loss of control of his vehicle. As such, the claim states, Caltrans is also partially responsible for the crash and the fatalities that resulted.
Media reports indicate that the claim against Caltrans will most likely be rejected in the coming weeks, which will allow the wrongful death lawsuits against the driver to proceed.
We will continue our discussion of this tragic accident and the lawsuits arising out of it in our next blog post.
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, “Lawsuits filed in fatal state Route 52 crash,” Dana Littlefield, Nov. 17, 2012