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Multiple Fatalities Occur in Head-on Collision in the Sierras

Family of Four Dies in Head-On Collision With Reported Drunk Driver

Multiple fatalities were reported in a head-on collision on November 20 in the Sierras on eastbound Interstate 80 area near Eagle Lakes Road and Yuba Gap, where two adults and two children died. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) report, calls had come in at about 4:43 a.m. about a wrong-way driver in the area. A few minutes later, three vehicles were involved in a collision. 

Youngest Child Survives in Devastating Accident Near Yuba Gap

The two adults and minor children who died were riding in the same Honda Civic when their vehicle was struck head-on by a Jeep. The Nevada County Coroner’s Office has recently identified the two adult decedents as Brittney Montano and Antonio Montano, both 29-years-old and from North Highlands. The two minor children who died, a 5-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, were identified as the children of the Montano couple. 

The third minor child, a 4-year-old boy and sole surviving son of the Montano couple, was airlifted by paramedics to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nevada, for treatment. Officials said he is expected to make a full recovery. A GoFundMe page has been established on behalf of the Montano family to help cover final resting expenses.

Wrong-Way Driver in Accident With Multiple Fatalities Suspected of Intoxication

The driver of the Jeep is suspected by police as having been intoxicated at the time of the collision causing multiple fatalities and was also transported to the hospital in Renown. Officers went to the hospital to take a statement from the driver, who was reported as having suffered major injuries. The third vehicle involved in the crash was struck after the initial head-on collision between the Honda and Jeep. No information has been released on the condition of that person. 

Interstate Closed for 20 Hours While Accident Scene is Investigated

The interstate remained closed for around 20 hours while the accident with multiple fatalities was investigated. One officer involved in handling the fatal collision said that drivers should avoid the fast lane because that is where most wrong-way accidents occur. 

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

Normally, the surviving family of a decedent can file a wrongful death claim when their loved one died because of a negligent driver or other entity. When multiple fatalities occur in an accident and there is no one left in that line of descent, the right to file extends to other family members. Others who were dependent on the deceased may file, as well as parents and siblings. In this way, the surviving loved ones can obtain a sense of justice and closure as well as financial compensation, which is especially important if there are surviving small children in the family.

Punitive Damages After a Wrongful Death

Punitive damages are seldom awarded in a wrongful death claim in California. However, the family may ask the jury to award punitive damages if the death/deaths were caused by an egregious act or were an intentional act. Punitive damages are not meant as compensation in wrongful death. Rather, they are meant to punish the defendant for their actions and dissuade others from behaving in this manner. 

Your injury lawyer can explain what asking for punitive damages entails and whether your family would be able to claim them in addition to their wrongful death lawsuit. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to the compensation for the wrongful death/deaths and are often much higher than that award itself.

Truckee Wrongful Death Lawyer

I am Ed Smith, a Truckee wrongful death lawyer. When a tragic loss of life occurs in a family, the grief can be overwhelming. Call us for our compassionate, free and friendly advice if your family would like to find out helpful information about filing a wrongful death claim. You can reach us in Truckee at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400 from elsewhere in Northern California. If it’s easier for you, we can also be contacted online.

Since 1982, my team of injury lawyers and I have successfully handled many cases involving wrongful deaths as well as all types of car accidents, bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian injuries and others.

It is an honor for us to belong to the Million Dollar Advocates and Top 1 Percent.

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Photo attribution: Image by Vladyslav Topyekha from Pixabay 

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