How Catastrophic Damage in Car Accidents Can Have Tiny Culprits
Last month an elderly California man was killed in a car accident. This tragic occurrence would not likely have gained much attention from the news but for the manner in which the accident occurred. The man was traveling northbound on the highway at about the time a state-owned Caltrans water truck was traveling that same highway, going southbound.
According to investigators, a metal cap used to seal the opening on the top of the truck’s water tank detached and flew across several lanes of traffic, striking the elderly man in his neck. The cap was described as being about the size of a baseball and about two to three inches in width. The man crashed into the center median before his car came to a stop. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
When a “Simple” Car Accident is Not So Simple
When one hears of an injury or death resulting from an Orange County car accident, one might naturally assume that the cause of the crash is simple and straightforward: One or both drivers drove their cars in a careless fashion and the crash ensued as a result.
For investigators and others looking at this case, determining the precise cause of the crash is not so simple. While it can be said that the cause of the crash was the metal cap that became detached and hit the man in his neck, this does not necessarily explain who or what entity was actually at fault. There could be any number of culprits responsible for this crash:
- The truck driver, if he or she failed to ensure that the cap was properly secured before driving;
- The truck’s maintenance department, if the cap was damaged in some manner and a maintenance worker should have or could have discovered the damage through routine inspection;
- The agency or office responsible for maintaining the road, if a defect in the road (such as a large pothole) caused the cap to come loose;
- The manufacturer of the cap, if a design or manufacturing defect resulted in the cap not being safe for its intended use.
Answering the questions necessary to determine liability in a case such as this (unfortunately) takes time – the sort of time that surviving family members and/or injury victims do not generally have. The sooner such an investigation is completed and responsible parties identified, however, the sooner the victim(s) can obtain compensation and monetary damages for their losses.
This is why hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial: The attorney’s experience and resources can be used to complete the requisite investigation in a timely manner. Injury victims who attempt to “go it alone” (unfortunately) find out quickly that obtaining adequate compensation for their losses is no easy task.