Freeway traffic and mattresses can create a dangerous combination. Late in the evening of Feb. 13, 2015, a mattress that apparently had been dropped by an unknown vehicle caused a fatal accident on the 55 Freeway in Santa Ana. Four vehicles were involved in the car crash and one of the other drivers was killed.
A female driver was driving in the northbound fast lane when her car struck the mattress. Her car then hit the lane divider and stopped at a right angle to oncoming traffic. A van hit the car in the driver's side door and pushed it into the path of a Toyota sedan. The impact from the Toyota spun the woman's vehicle so that it was facing oncoming traffic. It was then hit head-on by a Honda. The driver of the vehicle who initially struck the mattress was killed. The driver of the van left the scene of the accident, but was later arrested and charged with drunken driving. The other two drivers were treated for minor injuries at Western Medical Center.
The driver of the vehicle who dropped the mattress may be liable for the death, damages and injuries suffered by the other drivers, but finding that driver may be difficult, if not impossible. Nevertheless, a careful investigation into the accident may show that one of the other drivers was also negligent, in that he or she was intoxicated or perhaps driving in excess of the speed limit. The family of the deceased woman may have a wrongful death claim against any of the drivers whose negligence caused or contributed to the accident. For instance, if the driver of the van is found to have been driving while intoxicated or was otherwise negligent, he may be liable for the surviving family members' damages.
Sorting out liability in a multi-car accident is often difficult. Anyone who is contemplating seeking compensation in such a situation may be significantly aided by consulting an attorney with experience in multi-vehicle accident.
Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Dropped Mattress Triggers Fatal Four-Vehicle Crash On 55 Freeway," Feb. 14, 2015