Two young girls are clinging to life after a violent Los Angeles car accident earlier this month. Police believe that the driver who caused the accident was participating in an illegal street race at the time of the crash. According to reports, the two young girls – both age 9 – were passengers in a small sedan driven by one of the girl’s mothers.
The sedan was struck by a black Chevy Camaro as the mother began to make a left-hand turn onto Hoover Street. The impact of the collision caused the sedan to crash into a nearby utility pole. The young girls lost consciousness and suffered serious injuries. They were immediately transported to the hospital where they were both placed into medically-induced comas to limit the extent of their injuries.
The driver of the Camaro is facing criminal charges for his role in the accident. The other driver who had been racing took off immediately after the crash. They may both be held financially responsible for any harm they’ve forced the mother and the two young girls to endure.
Statute of Limitations After a Hit and Run Accident
In most cases, personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of an accident. In this particular situation, two drivers are reportedly responsible for causing a tragic car accident and injuring two young girls. One of the drivers was arrested at the scene and has been formally charged for his involvement. The other driver, however, sped off after the collision. He has yet to be located by the police.
What happens if the hit and run driver can evade police and capture for two years? Will the girls and their families lose the right to hold him personally responsible for the harm he caused? No. There are exceptions to the typically-rigid statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations can be tolled – or paused – when certain circumstances prevent a victim from filing a timely claim. One exception involves situations when a defendant cannot be located. When someone else causes you to suffer an injury, you have the right to take legal action and recover compensation. If the statute of limitations weren’t flexible, defendants could realistically hide for a period of time and run out the clock. Tolling the statute of limitations protects a victim’s right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The statute of limitations can be put on hold until the tolling factor – the thing that prevents the victim from moving forward with the case – no longer exists. Here, the tolling factor would the defendant’s presence. The statute of limitations would begin to run once the defendant was located and taken into custody. Once the statute of limitations begins, the victims will have two years from that date to file a claim.
What Happens If the Girls Don’t Wake Up?
The two nine-year-old girls were placed into medically-induced comas after the Los Angeles street racing accident. Medically-induced comas are sometimes used to protect the brain from swelling after a traumatic incident. Normal body function is essentially paused to give the body time to recover. While these comas are intended to be temporary in nature, there is a very real possibility that accident victims may never wake up or recover.
The street racers won’t be off the hook if the young girls never wake up. The families and the girls’ estates will have the right to hold the racers fully responsible for their actions. Family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit, while the estate can pursue compensation through a survival action.
Wrongful Death: A wrongful death lawsuit is generally filed by a victim’s closest family member(s). This can include parents, children, and anyone who may have relied on the victim financially. The purpose of a wrongful death action is intended to compensate the family members for their own personal losses as a result of a fatal accident. Compensation can include money for:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Value of support that would have been provided by the victim
- Loss of gifts of benefits that would have been provided by the victim, and
- Loss of companionship, moral support, guidance, and affection.
Family members aren’t entitled to compensation for emotional distress or pain and suffering that’s caused by the victim’s untimely death.
Survival Action: A survival action is a lawsuit that’s filed by a victim’s estate. It’s basically a way to step into the victim’s shoes and recover compensation that they would have been able to get had they survived. Survival actions can only be successful if the victim survives for any amount of time after an accident. Compensation can include money for medical bills and lost wages.
Have you or someone you love been injured in a Los Angeles car accident? You may have the right to file a civil lawsuit and recover compensation. Contact the personal injury lawyers at Glotzer & Leib for immediate assistance. Your first consultation is free, so call for help today.