On Friday afternoon just before rush hour a lady driving a Nissan Altima southbound on Freeway 110 near Highland Park was forced to stop due to a possible flat tire. A speeding GMC Yukon Sport utility vehicle crashed into her rear causing the Altima to catch fire.
In the Nissan Altima was a mother and her 2 year old daughter who was, quite correctly, strapped in to a child seat. The mother was unable to get the little girl out and screamed for help. Local residents attempted to come to the rescue and save the little girl but were unable to do so. After breaking the window and receiving severe burns on his arms, the would be rescuer was forced to retreat as flames engulfed the car and the little girl perished.
Four people were hospitalized after the accident, including the girl’s mother, the driver of the GMC Yukon which caused the accident and two of the would be rescuers.
This accident occurred on a stretch of freeway notorious for accidents. The road was built in 1940 with a design load of less than 30,000 motor vehicles daily with a maximum speed of 45 mph. These days it carries more than 4 times that number, over 120,000 vehicles use this freeway on a daily basis and the speed is often in excess of 60 mph.
The local residents mention that this section of Freeway 110 is an area that has many accidents. The California Department of Transportation installed a concrete divider to protect the homes and buildings alongside the Freeway from potential damage due to accidents on this stretch of motorway.
The California tort system will determine who is at fault in this accident. A normal finding will hold the car that collides with another from the rear as being at fault but there may be extenuating circumstances. In any event the driver of the GMC Yukon will be well advised to appoint an attorney proficient in Auto Accidents in LA to assist him plead his case. He is liable to be saddled with huge financial responsibility as well as a possible wrongful death suit.
The Lady herself should also appoint an attorney to look after her interests, to ensure that she is not saddled with liability. There could be arguments that she should not have stopped on the freeway as this is dangerous and illegal, thus she should bear some or all of the fault. Nevertheless the driver of the Yukon had a duty to observe the freeway in front of him and not collide with any obstacles that there may be.
In any event, although nothing will replace the loss of her daughter she may well be entitled to some recompense as a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney will argue. This may help some way to cover the costs of the burial and memorial to the child.
In accidents like these where there are huge legal ramifications it is essential that all parties are well represented.
SOURCE:Girl dies in Fiery Accident Los Angeles Times Aug 27 2011.