Hanel Lozano, 18, of Bellflower, was killed in a Buena Park crash the night of Feb. 17, 2013. The Orange County Register reports that the fatal car crash occurred on southbound Valley View Street north of La Palma Avenue. Police say the driver of a black Jeep Cherokee lost control of the vehicle and struck at least two other vehicles and then hit a tree in the median near the intersection of Valley View and La Palma. The Jeep Cherokee then overturned. Lozano was a passenger in the Jeep. Other passengers, who were between 18 and 20 years of age, had to be extricated from the vehicle. None of the other passengers in other vehicles were seriously injured. It is not known if alcohol or drugs played a part in the crash.
Traffic Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol's 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were five fatalities and 416 injuries involving traffic accidents in the city of Buena Park. In Orange County as a whole, 100 people died and 13,368 were injured as a result of car accidents during the same year.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Jeep Cherokee lost control of the vehicle near a busy intersection and struck two other cars. It is unclear as to why the driver lost control. Were drugs or alcohol factors in this collision? Was the driver of the Jeep traveling at an excessive rate of speed? Was distraction a factor? I trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what caused this fatal crash.
Rights of Victims and their Families
It is important for families of deceased passengers to remember that they have legal rights. In such cases, the at-fault driver can be held liable for the passenger's wrongful death. Families can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship.
Injured victims and families who have lost loved ones would be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable. It would be best in such cases to refrain from rushing into a quick settlement with the other party or an insurance company. It is crucial to get a skilled lawyer on your side who will fight for your rights and look out for your best interests.