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Woman Killed in Orange County Rollover Accident


Taylor Sams, 18, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was killed in an Orange County car accident after the pickup truck in which she was a passenger went out of control and rolled over. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal rollover crash occurred early morning on September 18, 2011 on the 241 toll road, near Portola Parkway, in Lake Forest.

California Highway Patrol officials say the driver of the 2000 Toyota Tacoma was traveling south on the toll road. The male driver told officials he was fatigued and had allowed his truck to drift over to the right shoulder. The Toyota rolled over as he overcorrected and entered the dirt median on the left of the roadway. Sams was partially ejected from the truck although, both, she and the driver wore their seatbelts. The driver was treated for unknown injuries at a local hospital. An investigation is ongoing.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Taylor Sams for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Car Accident Statistics

According to CHP’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were two fatalities and 180 injuries reported due to Lake Forest car accidents. In Orange County as a whole, 141 people died and 13,373 were injured in car accidents, during the same year.

Driver Fatigue was a Factor

Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the pickup truck, who told officials he was driving from Los Angeles to Orange County, was fatigued and may have dozed off while driving. As a result he lost control of the vehicle. However, what is not clear is why Sams was partially ejected from the vehicle in spite of wearing a seatbelt. Was she ejected due to a defective seatbelt? Did that lead to the fatal injuries here?

Liability Issues

In such cases, it would be highly advisable to preserve the vehicle in its crashed condition, unaltered, so experts can examine it for design flaws, product defects, and other evidence. If Sams’ fatal injuries were caused by a defective seatbelt, then, the auto maker or the manufacturer of the defective product can be held liable for her wrongful death. If the driver is determined to have been negligent, he could be held liable as well. In such cases, family members of deceased victims would be well-advised to contact an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer, who has successfully handled auto product liability cases against large auto makers.

Car Accident Attorneys in Orange County

There are many accidents caused by auto defects, but a majority are attributed to driver error because of a lack of investigation. Do you feel police should create more specific protocols for detecting defects?

They already have enough to do
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