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Van Nuys Crash Proves Fatal


Daniel Contreras, 30 was killed in a Los Angeles County car accident when his SUV flew off one highway and fell onto another. According to a report in The Daily News, the fatal car accident occurred at the Ventura 101 Freeway interchange bridge in Sherman Oaks where it meets the San Diego 405 Freeway, during the early morning hours of August 12, 2012. Officials say the victim’s SUV struck a metal guardrail, went over a concrete barrier and through two bridges before landing on the 405 freeway, 25 feet below. The SUV overturned on the lower freeway and Contreras was fatally injured. It is not clear what caused him to lose control or why his vehicle left the roadway.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of Daniel Contreras following this tragic car accident. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Los Angeles Car Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), 227 fatalities and 25,043 injuries occurred as a result of car accidents in the city of Los Angeles in 2009. Countywide, 554 people were killed and 50,817 were injured in car crashes during that same year.

What Caused This Fatal Crash?

Based on this news account, the SUV went over a guardrail and between two bridges eventually landing on the highway below. Several questions remain unanswered at this time. Was the guardrail defective or incorrectly positioned? Have other similar accidents occurred at this location? What caused Contreras’ vehicle to veer off the roadway? Did a defective auto part or a mechanical malfunction contribute to the crash? Were other vehicles involved in this incident? For example, did another vehicle run the SUV off the roadway? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.

Liability Issues

The family of a deceased crash victim would be well advised to preserve the damaged vehicle unaltered so that an expert can thoroughly examine it for defects, malfunctions and other evidence. In cases involving negligence or wrongdoing, the victim’s family can file what is known as a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future earnings and loss of love and companionship.

If a defective guardrail played a part, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can be held liable. Please remember that any wrongful death claim against a California public entity must be properly filed within six months of the incident. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to advise victims’ families in such cases about their legal rights and options.

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