At around 8 p.m. on Jan. 23, a California driver traveling westbound on Pearblossom Highway steered right and onto the shoulder of the road, striking and killing a woman who as walking her dog in the 7600 block. The male driver fled the scene and shortly afterwards caused a multi-vehicle crash in Palmdale that injured seven people.
The driver, a 62-year-old Palmdale native, was arrested the following day on the suspicion of drunk driving. This occurred after he was taken to the hospital with minor injuries from the second crash.
He was taken to the hospital in addition to three injury victims with minor injuries. Two of the seven injured people were reported to be in critical condition while the remaining one only required treatment at the scene of the crash.
The dispatch supervisor of the Los Angeles County Fire Department states that two teenagers were involved in the crash as well, but it is unclear if they sustained injuries or not. California Highway Patrol is asking any witnesses to step forward and reach out to them.
Any car crash that results in injuries can form the basis for a personal injury claim in this state, and this applies even if the plaintiff is partially at fault. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed, too, and the family may be reimbursed for things like the wages that the decedent would have earned, funeral and burial expenses and loss of support or consortium.
In the case above, the family of the fatally injured woman or the victims in the second crash might even sue for punitive damages. Drunk driving is, after all, not just negligent but also criminal, and punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for such behavior. Plaintiffs may want a lawyer on their case.