Three people are dead and one other is presumed dead after a U.S. Military jet crashed around noon on December 8, 2008 in University City, San Diego.
According to this news report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, a mother, her young child and the child’s grandmother died at 4416 Cather Avenue when the disabled F/A-18D Hornet crashed into the house in what is described as a “fiery explosion.”
A second child was missing and presumed dead before rescue personnel suspended their search at nightfall. None of the victims have been identified yet, but the newspaper describes the victims as a family of Korean immigrants.
My heart goes out to this beautiful family that perished as a result of this nightmarish aviation accident. I offer my deepest condolences to the father who was away from home at work when the accident occurred. Please keep this grieving man in your prayers.
The jet’s pilot, a student pilot at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, had apparently ejected safely and was listed in good condition at the San Diego Naval Medical Center.
He was en route from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln that was operating in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego. He lost one engine over the ocean and the other failed over the neighborhood. The crash occurred less than a quarter mile from University City High School.
The Marine Corps will be conducting the investigation and I trust the Federal Aviation Administration will also be involved. The liability issues are rather straight-forward here. The aircraft in this case was under the exclusive possession and control of the U.S. Marine Corps. There was no conduct on the part of the injured victims that contributed to the accident. So in this case, there is a strong presumption that the Marine Corps is responsible for the damages and fatal injuries caused.
The victims’ family would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California personal injury attorney who will monitor any investigation into the causes of this crash. The results of the investigation would help determine whether the crash occurred as a result of the failure or malfunction of a system component or defective part. That will raise product liability issues on the part of the company that designed and/or manufactured the aircraft, system, or part, in addition to the responsibility of the Marine Corps for the damages.
This incident occurred while a member of the Marine Corps was acting in the course of his duties when flying the plane. A claim for such an incident should be filed against the United States within two years. The claim must be accompanied by relevant supporting information such as medical reports and an itemized list of medical or funeral expenses, lost wages and other economic damages claimed. The claim must also set out specific damage amounts sought by the family or victims. This amount in such a claim will serve as the ceiling or limit for the family’s or victims’ ultimate recovery from the U.S. government. That is exactly why the attorney representing the wrongful death or personal injury claimants in this case must make as full and as complete an evaluation of the damages claim as possible before presenting the claim. The government will have six months to act upon the claim and if the claim is rejected, the claimants will have six months from that date to file a lawsuit.
The victims’ family should consult a very experienced and tenacious California wrongful death law firm to represent their interests. Family members should not give any statements to anyone or talk to investigators or adjusters, sign any documents or give any releases until they are represented by a skilled personal injury attorney. The best personal injury law firms will provide a free consultation, a comprehensive analysis and will charge no fees or costs until the case is concluded. We would be pleased to provide a free comprehensive consultation to this family or other victims of this tragic crash.