Auto accidents can result from an infinite combination of circumstances and events. However, many accidents begin when a distracted or otherwise negligent driver triggers a chain of events that set off the accident. A recent fatal auto accident in New Orleans may have followed this pattern.
The accident occurred at about 10 p.m. after a 25-year-old man drove his 52-year-old landlord's minivan to a party to pick her up. The man was driving the vehicle near a boat launch on Lake Pontchartrain when the minivan struck an object and went into the Lake. The man was able to escape from the minivan, but his landlord was not. The woman drowned, and rescuers pulled her from the submerged vehicle hours later. Officers with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office arrested the driver and charged him with Vehicular Homicide and Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle.
Although the cause of this accident is not yet fully known, an investigation will likely yield further details. Also, the arrest of the driver would indicate that officers had good reason to believe that his actions resulted in the woman's death.
In addition to criminal charges, the 25-year-old driver in this case may also ultimately face a civil lawsuit. This is because a personal representative or surviving family member of the deceased victim can pursue a wrongful death case against the driver.
No matter how strange the circumstances of a particular accident, victims have legal rights against anyone who may have caused the accident. This is true even when a passenger suffers personal injury or death at the hands of the driver with whom they are riding. Car accident victims, and their family members, should be aware of their legal rights to pursue compensation so that they can better act on them.
Source: WGNO, "New Orleans woman drowns after car plunges into lake at Bonnabel Boat Launch," Jan. 2, 2017