Pomona Family Killed in Merced County Accident
A Pomona family of four were all killed in a Merced County accident on the morning of May 26, 2019. The single vehicle accident occurred shortly before 8:30 p.m. along the eastbound lanes of State Route 152 just west of Highway 33. The family was returning home from a trip to the Bay Area over the Memorial Day weekend. They were traveling together in a 2017 Nissan Altima eastbound along Highway 152 when the driver, for unknown reasons, lost control of the vehicle. The Nissan reportedly entered the right lane before crossing the westbound lanes and crashing into a tree. Emergency crews responding to the scene located a pregnant 22-year-old woman, a 40-year-old man, and two boys aged 2 and 9, all residents of Pomona. All four parties were pronounced deceased at the scene by officials. The Merced County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office has identified the adult decedents as the mother and father of the two boys, Samuel Soto and Alondra Lara. I would like to take a brief moment to express my sincere sympathy to the loved ones of the four parties who lost their lives in this devastating accident.
Investigation of the Merced County Accident
Officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to have contributed to the collision. Weather conditions were also not believed to have been factors in the car wreck, which remains under investigation by CHP. Moreover, a GoFundMe page has been set up by the loved ones of the Pomona family to help cover their funeral expenses.
What Are the Reasons for a Single Vehicle Accident?
A single-vehicle accident is common and causes many injuries and fatalities each year. While most crashes are the result of an error on the part of a driver, some are not. An injured party or a decedent’s family may be able to recover financial compensation under these circumstances:
- Emergency Situations: An accident may be caused by the negligence of another driver on the road. For instance, a motorist may overtake your car unsafely and cause you to swerve to avoid a collision. You may end up crashing your vehicle in the process. In these cases, evidence showing that another careless individual caused your accident may include video surveillance, eyewitness accounts, and crash reconstruction.
- Road Defects: Hazards such as malfunctioning traffic lights, poor road design, insufficient warning signage, potholes, and other problems can lead to a single vehicle accident. Road design and maintenance will come under the jurisdiction of a government entity. Whether it is federal, state, or local, it is essential to know which entity to place a claim against since a shorter statute of limitations applies to government negligence cases.
- Vehicle Defects: Single vehicle accidents are sometimes caused by a defect in a motor vehicle or its equipment. Brakes may fail, and faulty tires can cause blowouts as well as other parts. Some automakers have recalled defective seat belts since they may fail to function as intended in a collision. These situations, among others, may have the grounds for an auto products liability claim.
Wrongful Death in an Auto Accident
The loss of a loved one is a painful experience. If their death was caused by the negligent acts of another party or entity, then the family of the deceased may be able to bring forward a wrongful death case, with the assistance of a Merced wrongful death attorney. Some types of economic and noneconomic damages that are often considered in a wrongful death claim include:
- Any death-related expenses such as funeral and medical costs
- Loss of care, comfort, companionship, love, and society
- Loss of consortium may be claimed by the decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Lost inheritance for the present value of the assets that would have been left to the family as part of the deceased’s estate
- Punitive damages are awarded in wrongful death cases where behaviors of fraud, malice, or oppression were found to have caused the wrongful death car accident
- Surviving family members’ collective mental anguish and emotional suffering caused by the wrongful death of their loved one
- The reasonable value of lost services provided by the decedent such as home maintenance and childcare
For more information on these types of cases, watch the below video.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
In California, eligible beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim include spouses, domestic partners, and children of the decedent. If these parties do not exist, then those who were financially dependent on the deceased may be eligible to file. These may include the putative spouse, stepchildren, and parents of the decedent. To determine whether you meet the filing requirements for wrongful death, you should consult with an experienced attorney regarding the circumstances and facts of your case.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Lawyer?
The procedures and law surrounding wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated. A family will need the guidance and advice of an experienced wrongful death lawyer to explain their responsibilities and legal rights in such cases. An attorney can also help determine the best course of action for the family while they are coming to terms after their loss.
Merced Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Merced wrongful death lawyer. There is nothing more devastating than losing a loved one in a car accident, especially when the negligence or carelessness of another party caused that collision. If you have lost a family member in an accident due to the fault of another, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly case advice.
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I am a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, a legal organization which recognizes attorneys who are dedicated to a high standard of excellence. I also belong to the Million Dollar Advocates, a group that promotes top trial attorneys who have won over $1 million for a client.
Look over cases our law office has previously handled on our Verdicts and Settlements page.
Picture Credit: By “Kat Jayne” via Pexels
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