Deadly Fireball Wreck in Ventura County

December 08, 2021

Few details were available after a semi-truck collided with a grey sedan in Grimes Canyon.

The wreck occurred just north of Highway 118 on Grimes Canyon Road. Two people died at the scene. Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to rescue a third victim, who was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Electronic Evidence in Truck Crash Claims

Semi-trucks carry hundreds of gallons of highly-flammable diesel fuel. Therefore, large fireball collisions are common in truck crash claims. The fire often destroys much of, but not all of, the physical evidence in these accidents.

However, a diesel truck’s Event Data Recorder almost always survives even the most catastrophic collisions. This on-board computer measures and records data like:

  • Vehicle speed,
  • Engine RPM,
  • Steering angle, and
  • Brake application.

A Los Angeles personal injury attorney, often working with an accident reconstruction engineer, can put these pieces of evidence together and establish individual liability for a truck crash.

Negligent drivers are personally responsible for such collisions. Frequently, the shipping, transportation, or other company that owned the cargo is financially responsible for the wreck. More on that below.

A large truck’s EDR contains potentially game-changing evidence. That’s especially tru since the victim has the burden of proof in these claims. However, there are some practical and legal hurdles to overcome.

From a practical standpoint, large truck EDRs are very sophisticated devices. Attorneys need the proper tools, and the proper expertise, to access them and download the information they contain.

There are some legal considerations as well. For example, California has very strong vehicle information privacy laws. So, unless an attorney convinces a judge to issue a court order, the EDR will likely remain off-limits.

Damages Available

Damages in a vehicle collision claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme cases.

In 2002, the total economic cost of vehicle collisions in the United States was a little over $200 billion. Within a few years, those costs catapulted to almost $900 billion a year. Rising medical costs have much to do with this increase. The presence of ever-larger, faster, and more expensive motor vehicles propelled the increase as well.

California has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country. As a result, many drivers don’t have enough insurance coverage to pay all these economic damages.

So, third-party liability theories, like respondeat superior, are especially important in catastrophic injury claims. Vicarious liability gives these victims an additional source of recovery. Respondeat superior, or let the master answer, usually applies if the negligent driver was an employee acting within the scope of employment at the time of the wreck. California law is so broad on this point that the theory applies in pretty much any commercial driver wreck. Accident victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

Photo Credit: Matt Hearne on Unsplash

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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