Virginia Worthington, 80, was killed in a Laguna Beach car accident after an SUV struck her at an intersection. According to a news article in The Orange County Register, the fatal crash occurred at the intersection of High Drive and Allview Terrace not too far from her home, the evening of September 27, 2012. Worthington was transported to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead soon afterward. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the crash and who had the right-of-way. No arrests or citations were reported. The investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Virginia Worthington for their tremendous loss. They will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers.
Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Two people died and 16 were injured as a result of Laguna Beach pedestrian accidents in 2010, according to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). During the same year, 32 people died and 770 were injured in Orange County pedestrian accidents.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it is not clear who had the right of way at the time of the collision. California Vehicle Code Section 21954 states: “Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard.” The same section also states: “The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.”
If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she can be held liable for Worthington’s wrongful death. In cases where negligence is involved, families of deceased victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Laguna Beach personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous roadway condition caused or contributed to the incident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Any such claim against a public entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident, under California Government Code Section 911.2.