Caltrans May Face More Wrongful Death Lawsuits

While the cause of a fatal accident in San Bernardino is underway, family and friends mourn the death of two teens and Caltrans may be facing another lawsuit.

A dump truck hauling 80,000 pounds of wet cement lost control and collided with a PT Cruiser in the Cajon Pass sending the vehicle down a dirt embankment. The dump truck rolled several times before landing on top of the Cruiser. Two of the five passengers inside the Cruiser died at the scene; the other three were injured. The dump truck driver, who was working as a subcontractor for California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), was not injured.

An initial investigation indicates that the truck driver lost control for an unknown reason and failed to stop at an intersection. The California Highway Patrol is investigating whether there was a mechanical issue; unconfirmed reports that the dump truck’s brakes failed. Alcohol and drugs did not appear to be a factor in the accident. This is the fourth fatal accident to claim two or more victims in the region since Mother’s Day.

The families of the deceased may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver and Caltrans. Caltrans may be held liable for failing to maintain the dump trick and/or failing to maintain and improve dangerous road. But, winning a wrongful death lawsuit resulting from a dangerous road accident involves proving the government was aware of a significant danger, but failing to fix it. Whether a lawsuit is filed against Caltrans or not, the negligent driver may still be held accountable.

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