Update | Fatal Car Crash on SR-99 and Westside Boulevard in Merced County

Fatal Car Crash on SR-99 Near Atwater

On the early morning of November 23, 2023, the California Highway Patrol reported a fatal car crash on SR-99 near Atwater in Merced County. The incident was described as a head-on collision that took place on State Route 99 in the vicinity of Westside Boulevard. The crash involved a 2002 Hyundai Elantra and a Chevrolet Tahoe, officials said.

Details on the Fatal Car Crash on SR-99 Near Atwater

A preliminary release by the CHP indicated that a motorist was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 99. The vehicle later collided head-on with the other, causing the second vehicle to overturn and catch fire.

Three of the four occupants of the Chevrolet exited the vehicle before it was engulfed in flames. CHP officers extricated a fourth occupant from the burning Chevrolet, but they suffered fatal injuries at the crash site, officials said. The Elantra driver was also killed in the head-on collision. The three Chevrolet occupants were treated at local hospitals for unspecified injuries.

Officials have recently identified the decedents as 49-year-old Norma Rodriguez and 22-year-old Byrant Noyola, both Modesto residents. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Norma Rodriguez and her family to assist with final resting expenses. The crash is under investigation by the CHP.

Wrongful Death Cases in California

When an individual or entity’s actions cause a fatal incident, the surviving family members of the decedent may seek justice and financial recovery through a wrongful death claim. When a family loses a close relative, it may cause immense grief and devastation for survivors. However, it is important for survivors to not forget time constraints if they are considering taking legal action against the party who caused their loved one’s demise. In California, most cases must be filed within two years following the date of loss, according to CCP 335.1.

The grounds behind a wrongful death case include that the decedent’s life was cut short due to the opposing party’s negligence, and the family experienced intangible harm and financial losses due to the untimely death. Beneficiaries in these cases with priority include the spouse, domestic partner, or children. In some cases, the parents, stepchildren, putative spouse, and other relatives who were dependent on the deceased for financial support may file a case for compensation if the previously mentioned relatives do not exist. This is outlined in CCP 377.60.

California law allows surviving family members to seek reimbursement of economic and non-economic damages. Eligible survivors may recover compensation for funeral services and associated expenses, mental anguish, loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided to the family household throughout their lifetime, loss of companionship, and more. In cases where the fatal incident was the result of egregious conduct, like DUI or excessive speeding that caused a car crash, the court may also allow survivors to seek punitive damages from the defendant.

Is There Enough Insurance?

There may or may not be sufficient coverage for claimants affected by a catastrophic or fatal crash. This will depend on the negligent party’s insurance policy limits. In cases where the opposing party has inadequate liability coverage or no auto insurance, the injured party or survivor may turn to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for recourse. For more information on the process, it is best to reach out to an experienced attorney near you. At our law office, we offer free consultations. Learn more about our legal team in this video.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Merced

When an individual is injured or a family loses a loved one due to a motor vehicle collision, affected parties need time to heal. The least of concerns during this difficult time would be to take legal action. Injured parties and surviving family members may feel emotionally unprepared to bring a case forward. A knowledgeable Merced personal injury lawyer understands this too well. The right attorney will work diligently to alleviate their client’s worry and stress by handling their case from start to finish. You will receive that when you work with our personal injury law firm.

Since 1982, our legal team has sought justice for many injured parties and families in Merced County and across California. We have worked tirelessly to obtain successful resolutions in personal injury and wrongful death cases for our clients. If you were injured or lost a family member in a head-on collision or another type of traffic accident in Merced, our attorneys are here to help and provide free, friendly case advice. Get started by dialing (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400. It costs nothing to learn about your rights and options for recovery under California law.

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