Investigators say a 28-year-old Oakland woman was traveling over 100mph when she lost control of her 2013 Hyundai Elantra and struck two other vehicles.
The wreck happened in Stockton, near the intersection of State Highway 12 and Peatland Road. According to investigators, the Elantra driver veered onto the shoulder. Then, she overcorrected and plunged into oncoming traffic, colliding with a 2012 Honda Pilot. The force of that collision propelled one or both cars into a 2001 Toyota Camry.
Two people inside the Pilot, along with the Elantra driver, died at the scene. Three other people were hurt.
If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) dies in the collision, a San Jose auto accident attorney can still obtain compensation in court. However, these cases have some additional challenges.
Procedurally, these legal actions often go to probate court. Technically, a personal injury claim against a deceased person is usually a claim against that person’s estate. Usually, the estate administrator is a layperson, usually a friend or family member of the decedent, who is anxious to settle the dispute, close the probate case, and move on. Therefore, such claims often settle quickly and on victim-friendly terms.
Additionally, A key bit of testimony, namely the tortfeasor’s version of the accident, is unavailable. As a result, defense attorneys often scramble to present an effective defense.
Speaking of effective defenses, probate judges usually don’t hear personal injury disputes. Frequently, they’re also anxious to close the case and move on. This attitude doesn’t necessarily favor one side or another. Usually, the side which adjusts to the judge’s attitude is the side that benefits the most.
In or out of probate court, most personal injury claims settle before trial. This settlement usually includes compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
As mentioned, eyewitness testimony from the people directly involved in the accident is often critical, for both defendants and victim/plaintiffs. However, people are almost always biased. Sometimes, this bias affects their recollection, whether they realize it or not. Moreover, many car crashes happen so fast that the witnesses, including the participants, miss key details.
Electronic evidence, such as a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, often fills in the gaps. Most EDRs measure and record information like:
EDR proof is usually more reliable, and always more precise, than eyewitness testimony. Computers, assuming they are working properly, are never incorrect or biased. As for precision, an eyewitness can testify that a car was going fast. EDR data proves that the car was traveling 100mph.
This electronic proof is often critical to a car crash claim. Unfortunately, because of legal and practical hurdles, this evidence isn’t always available.
EDR information is always available in the court of public opinion. But a court of law is different. Usually, a San Jose personal injury attorney must get a court order, to overcome California’s strict vehicle information privacy laws.
Additionally, the insurance company usually takes immediate custody of wrecked vehicles. They typically destroy these wrecked vehicles within days. If that happens, the company “accidentally” destroys all physical evidence, such as the EDR.
So, an attorney must quickly send a spoliation letter to a vehicle custodian. This letter creates a legal duty to preserve the wrecked vehicle, as well as the EDR, for future inspection.
Car crash claims are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Campbell, contact the Solution Now Law Firm. We have offices in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Oakland.
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