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1 Person Dead in Multi-Vehicle Crash on 5 Freeway

fire-truck-small-newTraffic was snarled on the Santa Ana 5 Freeway following a multi-vehicle accident that left one person dead and at least two others injured.  According to Chief Steve Pardi, of the Orange County Fire Authority, the fiery crash happened on Monday night just south of Jamboree Road. The California Highway Patrol states that the multi-vehicle collision was partly caused by a Dodge van that was traveling at unsafe speeds when it lost control, slamming into a vehicle ahead of it. The impact sparked a chain reaction, as several more vehicles were pushed into each other.

By the time authorities arrived on the scene just after 10:30 p.m., vehicles were ablaze and one driver was dead. Orange County Fire Authority confirmed that one male passenger, who suffered severe burns in the fire, was transported to UC Irvine Medical Center, while another victim sustained minor injuries.

Vehicles burst into flames, killing one

The Los Angeles Times reported that the first vehicle that had been hit burst into flames, which eventually engulfed the entire car, trapping  and killing the driver inside. The flames quickly spread to the 1994 Dodge van, but first responders on the scene were able to free the driver.

Officials say that at least five vehicles were involved in the freeway crash, which closed all northbound lanes of the 5 freeway near Jamboree Road. The victims’ names have not yet been released, and officials are still investigating the cause of the crash.

While no charges have been filed, police say the driver of the Dodge van was driving too fast for conditions, and as a result, was unable to slow and stop his vehicle.

Liability issues in multi-vehicle accidents

A vehicle’s speed will determine the distance needed to safely stop. All drivers bear a duty to drive at a safe speed and maintain a reasonable distance from leading vehicles. When motorists are driving too fast, they often can’t stop quick enough to avoid striking another car or object in their path. This type of rear-end collision is dangerous on a number of levels, as it can not only result in serious neck and back injuries, the impact can spark a multi-vehicle pile-up, as was the case on the Santa Ana Freeway.

Proving fault in such an accident is not always clear cut. Accident reconstructionists may be needed to accurately determine the speed and distance of the vehicles involved. Victims may also rely on police reports, video and photos of the accident scene that show skid marks, broken guardrails, or other valuable clues. Eyewitness statements may also lend credence to claims made by motorists who were rear-ended by another driver, as well as claims made by the supposed perpetrator.

In most cases, the driver of the rear-ending car must satisfy the court that he or she was obeying traffic rules at the time of the incident; was not driving recklessly or distracted, and that the collision did not result from his or her negligence.  If the court decides that the defendant was following too close, was speeding or engaging in other reckless behaviors that caused the accident, he or she may be forced to pay monetary damages.

The value of a car accident claim can vary tremendously, depending on the seriousness of the injuries sustained, and whether the plaintiff is partially at fault.

personal injury lawsuit may seek to recover:

  • Lost income
  • Costs of medical treatment, hospital bills and ambulance service
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of consortium

Free case evaluation in Los Angeles

Ellis Law car accident attorneys help injured people throughout Los Angeles and southern California.   If you’ve been harmed or lost a loved one in a crash, we are available 24/7 to protect your legal rights.

Call us toll-free at 1-800-INJURED to request a complimentary consultation.