California – February 17, 2021

A 21-year-old woman suffered fatal injury when her car was hit by a teenage driver who stole a car, ran a red light, and crashed into her vehicle.  She was traveling through the intersection of Jamacha and Sweetwater roads when the driver in the stolen vehicle struck her car, and a second vehicle with two men and a toddler, who were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  Deputies recognized the car as stolen and attempted to stop the car by the 17-year -old, who driver sped away according to authorities.  Criminal actions led to this accident, and will strengthen a case for negligence supported by California driving laws.

Car Insurance and liability.

California law requires that drivers have a way to cover costs related to damages, or injuries caused in a car accident. Purchasing liability car insurance is the simplest and most common way people choose to meet this requirement.   In California, all drivers are responsible for willful actions, and those that cause injury, or wrongful death during ordinary care.  A personal injury attorney will be necessary to ascertain the responsibility of the driver when they are underage, driving a stolen vehicle, and engaged in criminal and negligent acts that subsequently cause an accident.

Stolen vehicle owner responsibility.

In California, the owner of a stolen vehicle will not be held liable for damages when a vehicle is stolen and then involved in an accident. This is because the vehicle was taken without the consent of the owner. Under the “permissive use doctrine”, an owner is liable for personal injury or property damage resulting from negligence in the operation of a vehicle by any person using the vehicle with the permission of the owner.  Since the owner of a stolen vehicle has clearly not given permission for their vehicle to be used, they are generally not responsible for the actions of the thief. They owe no duty to the other drivers who  have experienced harmful loss because of the accident.  It is very important to speak with a skilled wrongful death attorney to determine next steps in a cases like this.

Accidental death benefit.

The family of the driver who suffered fatal injury will most likely have to file an insurance claim to utilize the no-fault insurance to cover immediate costs related to the funeral and burial expenses, and a death benefit under an insurance policy may be accessed with the assistance of a car accident attorney.  Fatal car accident claims are complicated, time-sensitive, high-dollar claims and the experience of an attorney is necessary for the best results in a car accident wrongful death case.  In this case, the responsible party is an underage driver so an attorney can assist in determining who should be sued for the criminal behavior that caused the loss.

Hire an attorney.

Seek counsel at Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates immediately after a fatal accident for guidance on how to navigate through the tragic period.  Accident attorneys can proceed in filing wrongful death actions (within the two-year period from the date a person died) that will enable compensation to pay bills related to funerals, emergent hospital care and negative financial impacts to family members.

Jeffrey E. Estes & Associates, a Professional Law Corporation
501 West Broadway, Suite 1650
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-233-8021
Fax: 619-233-3730

 

Sources.

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/story/2021-02-17/mother-mourns-death-of-21-year-old-daughter-killed-in-spring-valley-crash

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/public-safety/story/2021-02-13/stolen-car-fatal-spring-valley

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=17150

https://statelaws.findlaw.com/california-law/california-negligence-laws.html

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1785

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