Lourdes Ruiz Ramirez Ortiz, a 47-year-old Ensenada woman, was killed in a rollover accident on the Interstate 15 in Ontario, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise news report. This fatal rollover crash occurred the morning of January 17, 2009 along the southbound lanes of the 15 Freeway near Fourth Street. California Highway Patrol officials said Ortiz was a passenger in a 1993 Toyota Tercel when she was ejected as the car flipped over after being sideswiped by a 2006 Nissan Maxima.
My heart goes out to the family of Lourdes Ruiz Ramirez Ortiz for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. I offer my deepest sympathies to them. Please keep this family in your prayers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that a majority of traffic accident fatalities occur during rollover accidents. According to the NHTSA, 25 percent of auto accident fatalities in the United States each year occur in rollover crashes.
In this Ontario accident, it is unclear how exactly the accident occurred. If this newspaper report is accurate, the Nissan driver is at fault for this accident because he or she sideswiped the Toyota Tercel in which Ortiz was a passenger. That triggered the rollover crash. However, I’m also concerned why Ortiz was ejected from the Tercel. Was she wearing her seatbelt? If she was she should not have been ejected from the vehicle unless the seat restraint system failed.
Lourdes Ruiz Ramirez Ortiz’s family would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced Riverside auto accident attorney who has an excellent track record of dealing with auto product defect cases. A skilled personal injury lawyer will advise the Ortiz family to preserve the Tercel in its current crashed condition so that it may be examined for auto product defects including seat belt failure. A knowledgeable auto accident lawyer will be able to look at the facts of the case, identify the negligent parties and hold them responsible for the accident and Ortiz’s fatal injuries. I trust CHP officials are questioning the driver of the Nissan to see what his or her role was in this accident.
If Ortiz’s death was caused by seat belt failure, then the auto maker could be held liable for manufacturing or designing a defective auto product. Ortiz’s family should particularly consider retaining a nationally renowned California auto product defect law firm. I’d suggest they approach an attorney who has successfully handled cases against large auto makers and is especially familiar with rollover and seatbelt defect cases.