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Handling personal injury claims for Carlsbad, Oceanside, San Marcos and beyond.
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to take the best course of action after a serious accident

Attorney Jared Pursley
Carlsbad Personal Injury LawyerBlogAuto AccidentThanksgiving Day Rollover Wreck Kills Four People

Thanksgiving Day Rollover Wreck Kills Four People


Only one person survived a rollover wreck on Thanksgiving Day on State Route 94 in San Diego.

The crash occurred on the eastbound side of State Route 94, just west of Home Avenue. The CHP said a 26-year-old La Mesa man lost control of the BMW he was driving, causing it to overturn and eject him and three passengers. All four victims were pronounced dead at the scene. In addition to the driver, they were a 35-year-old man from Chula Vista, a 20-year-woman from National City and a 33-year woman whose place of residence was unavailable.

None of these victims were wearing seat belts, according to investigators.

Passenger Injuries

Legally, injured passengers have the same rights as injured drivers. However, mostly for financial and emotional reasons, many injured passengers don’t partner with a Carlsbad car accident lawyer and exercise their legal rights.

Financially, if an insurance company pays most or all the medical bills, many passenger victims don’t see the point of pursuing legal action.

Most health insurance companies don’t pay injury-related medical bills. When auditors examine these bills and determine they’re injury related, the insurance company often demands repayment. This demand puts victims in a tough financial position. The average injury-related medical bill is over $40,000.

Furthermore, there’s a question of “you break it, you buy it” responsibility. If an insurance company pays for someone else’s negligence, we all pay, in the form of higher insurance premiums. Therefore, responsible tortfeasors (negligent drivers) should pay for the wrecks they caused.

On a side note, at most, health insurance companies only pay medical bills. They don’t compensate victims for other economic losses, such as lost wages, or noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Only an Oceanside personal injury lawyer can obtain this compensation.

Emotionally, many passengers don’t want to “blame” a driver” for an “accident.” Once again, this sentiment is understandable, but misplaced.

Civil actions don’t blame anyone for anything. Civil lawsuits compensate accident victims. Furthermore, most car crashes aren’t “accidents.” People accidentally leave the lights on. They don’t accidentally lose control of their vehicles and kill people.

The Seat Belt Defense in California

This defense is rather complicated in California. According to California Vehicle Code § 27315(i), failure to wear a seat belt is not relevant to liability (legal responsibility) issues. Wearing or not wearing a seat belt has nothing to do with controlling a vehicle.

However, the failure to wear a seat belt is relevant for damages (amount of compensation) purposes.

To reduce the victim’s damages, insurance company lawyers must do more than cite safety statistics and wag their fingers at victims. Instead, the insurance company must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the failure to wear a seat belt, as opposed to the tortfeasor’s negligence, substantially caused injury.

This point is very difficult to prove. Many unbuckled people survive car crashes. Furthermore, seat belts only lower the risk of some kinds of injury. Many people suffer serious broken bones, head injuries, and other wounds even if they wear their seat belts.

Rely on a Dedicated San Diego County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Oceanside, contact the Pursley Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.



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