According to a report from CBS Sacramento, one person was killed and six others were injured in a chain-reaction crash on Interstate 5. The collision occurred within the southbound lanes of the freeway in Yolo County, northwest of Sacramento. Emergency personnel from the Woodland Fire Department responded to the crash. Here, our Stockton wrongful death attorneys provide a more detailed overview of what we know about the crash on Interstate 5, highlight an alarming trend regarding fatal accidents, and explain your rights if your family member is involved in a deadly collision in California.
A Deadly Three Vehicle Chain Reaction Crash on Interstate 5
At approximately 5:00 PM on the evening of Wednesday, December 22nd law enforcement and rescue services received notice of a major collision on Interstate 5. One of the most highly-trafficked freeways in California, Interstate 5 runs from San Diego, California to Everett, Washington. First responders arrived at the scene of the crash to find that three vehicles were involved.
Based on a preliminary investigation, the CHP assessed that the front car made a relatively quick stop on account of traffic. The second vehicle was able to make a stop as well. However, the third driver in line did not notice the traffic until it was too late—colliding directly into the back of the second vehicle and sending that car into the rear of the first.
Tragically, the passenger of the second vehicle in line was pronounced dead at the scene of the chain-reaction accident. Six other people were taken to local hospitals for treatment as a result of the accident. However, none of those six injuries were reported to be severe. The multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 5 is still under a more comprehensive investigation.
Fatal Car Accidents are Rising in California (and Nationwide)
Motor vehicle crashes remain one of the leading causes of serious injuries and accidental deaths in the United States. Alarmingly, the rate of deadly car crashes is rising in both the State of California and nationwide. In October, the federal government released a highway report called Early Estimate of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities for the First Half (January-June) of 2021—it includes in-depth (but preliminary) highway safety data. The NHTSA estimates that 20,160 were killed in automobile collisions in the first six months of last year. Here is how that compares with recent years:
- An 18.4 percent increase in car accident fatalities since 2020;
- An 18.6 percent increase in car accident fatalities since 2019 (pre COVID-19); and
- A 35.6 percent increase in car accident fatalities since 2011 (modern low).
California is also seeing a substantial rise in deadly motor vehicle collisions. The initial NHTSA report for the first half of 2021 finds that automobile accident fatalities were up more than 25 percent in the Western region—an ever steeper rise than the nationwide trend. Our state was also seeing a trend of more highway deaths pre-COVID-19 epidemic. Hundreds more people were killed in car crashes in California in 2019 than in 2011.
Wrongful Death Claims and Fatal Motor Vehicle Collisions
Nothing is more emotionally devastating than losing a close loved one in a car accident that should have never happened. While it is impossible to truly make things right, a wrongful death claim offers an opportunity for families to get justice, accountability, and much-needed financial support. Here are three things to know about wrongful death laws for fatal car crashes in California:
- Not Everyone is Eligible to File a Claim: California law restricts who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In general, a claim should be initiated by a surviving family member (spouse, child, etc), or a personal representative of the victim’s estate.
- Liability is Based on Negligence: To hold another party—driver, truck company, vehicle manufacturer, etc—liable for a fatal accident, the plaintiff must prove fault. In deadly car accident cases, fault is based on negligence.
- Economic and Non-Economic Damages May Be Recovered: Wrongful death compensation after a fatal car accident in California may include both economic losses and non-economic losses. An attorney will help your family get the full financial support it needs.
Get Help From a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Central California
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton wrongful death attorneys are compassionate, reliable advocates for families. If your loved one was involved in a fatal crash on a California highway, we are here to handle all of your legal needs while you focus on yourself and your family. Call us at 209-267-4589 or contact us online to set up a free, fully confidential consultation with a wrongful death law. Our law firm represents grieving families throughout the region, including in Stockton, Sacramento, Galt, Manteca, Lodi, Tracy, Sutter Creek, Modesto, Turlock, and Lathrop.