Wrongful Death in Westminster Fatal Collision?
The Orange County Register reports that Dieu Vu, a 72-year-old Westminster cyclist has been killed in an accident involving a raised pick-up truck and an adult tricycle. On Monday, March 23, 2009, a pick-up truck driven by Michael Sindar turned right at a green light and collided with Mr. Vu, who was riding an adult tricycle across the intersection.
Reviewing the OC Register story from the perspective of a personal injury attorney reveals a detail that may act as a starting point for a wrongful death lawsuit. The truck that struck and killed Vu sported over-sized wheels or a raised suspension. A wrongful death lawsuit based on this detail would revolve around proving that such willful modifications to the pick-up truck may have restricted the driver’s visual field and reduced his ability to operate the vehicle safely and responsibly, and thus contributed to the fatal accident.
Wrongful death suits are not synonymous with criminal homicide charges. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions which do not violate double-jeopardy rules and have a different standard of proof than homicide charges. A defendant may be found innocent of criminal wrong-doing, yet be liable for civil damages in a wrongful death suit.
It bears mentioning that unreported circumstances may be present in this case which may shield the driver from liability. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the defense would closely examine Mr. Vu’s actions in order to sway a jury to a favorable verdict for the defendant.
If you have any questions regarding wrongful death lawsuits, or how liability and negligence are determined in a civil court, please contact the Irvine Wrongful Death Attorneys at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas.