There are many stories and articles on the tragic accident in the Cajon Pass on June 24, 2014, where a dump truck loaded with 80,000 pounds of concrete ran a stop sign and struck a car carrying 5 teenagers as they were returning home from a day at the beach. This horrific accident resulted in the death of two of the occupants and the serious injury of three others. All of these teenagers were from Phelan. The details on the cause of the accident may take several months to know, but initially, it appears that the truck driver may have had a brake failure which led to the collision. Once the two vehicles collided, the truck pushed the PT Cruiser over an embankment and under the truck.
Links to several of the stories on this accident are below:
A tragedy such as this cannot be explained or initially accepted by the families and friends of the victims. Many ask how could this happen? Sometimes there is just no explanation as to why this car full of happy young kids had to be at that point on the road when this truck went through that particular stop sign. The only thing that can eventually be answered is how it happened and who is responsible for this tragedy.
The investigation into the cause of the truck going through the stop sign has already been commenced by the California Highway Patrol. They will inspect and test the brake system, look at maintenance records for the dump truck, accident history of the driver and vehicle, the effect the load may have had on the handling of the truck, road conditions, and design, as well as other potential contributing factors. Ultimately, the CHP will make some conclusions from its investigation and determine the primary and/or secondary cause(s) of the accident.
Inevitably, this type of accident will end up with personal injury lawyers doing their best to secure some degree of financial recovery for the families and individuals who suffered in this accident. Having the right personal injury attorneys handling this significant and complex case is critical to finding all those potentially responsible for this accident. Reports indicate that this dump truck was part of a construction project for a Cal Trans project along the I-15 freeway. As a result, there will be subcontractors, contractors, Cal Trans and even other potential persons or companies who contributed to the accident. Each of these companies will have their insurance companies and lawyers battling to prevent their clients from taking the blame and financial responsibility for this accident. Unfortunately, this is just the reality of the way things work after an accident of any significance.
For anyone in a serious accident, here are four tips to remember following the accident:
1. Beware of those who come to your house or hospital room uninvited and claim they can represent you in a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Just their mere presence to solicit your business is a violation of the law.
2. There will be many who will offer advice, including family and friends. Listen to what they have to say, but make your own decisions and don’t turn over your decision making to anyone. Ultimately, do your own research until you feel comfortable with what you are going to do.
3. Don’t assume things can’t be done or shouldn’t be done without first asking questions of the right people who can answer all the questions you have.
4. Surround yourself with people who truly have only your best interest at heart and will make decisions which are best for you and not based upon their own economic advantage.
I hope these families in Phelan will feel the support and love of their God, church, family, friends, and community while they mourn the loss of life and struggle through the long recovery from serious injuries. Many answers to questions about legal matters involving personal injury and/or wrongful death claims can be found by contacting us or by calling 909-481-0100.