Authorities report that a three-car collision on Highway 79 near Temecula left a 67-year-old man dead after he attempted to pass a tractor-trailer in the early morning hours of Nov. 14. The driver of the tractor-trailer was uninjured; however, the crash left five others with minor injuries and one driver with moderate injuries.
According to a news release from the California Highway Patrol, it was dark and raining lightly as the man who was fatally injured attempted to cross the double yellow lines and pass the tractor-trailer in his 2004 Toyota Tundra. The chain-reaction collision occurred when the Tundra struck a 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser heading westbound, which caused the Cruiser to then collide with the semitrailer.
A 1999 Ford F-350 then collided with both the PT Cruiser and the Tundra and caused a 1993 Ford F-350 to collide with it and the Tundra. The driver of the Tundra was pronounced dead at the scene, and both lanes on Highway 79 were blocked for several hours as a result of the crash.
Whenever a car crash causes a fatality or serious injuries, police may investigate whether drugs, alcohol, driver distraction or fatigue or hazardous road conditions were a factor. If injured victims choose to file a lawsuit to potentially recover pecuniary damages like medical expenses or non-pecuniary damages like pain and suffering endured as a result of the crash, additional resources may be used to determine who was truly at fault for the accident, such as eyewitness accounts.
In this case, the estate of the deceased driver of the Toyota Tundra might be deemed liable since he attempted to cross a double yellow line to pass the tractor-trailer. However, since this crash involved several drivers, if additional factors are discovered, it might be harder to establish that one driver was solely at fault. Pinpointing multiple sources of liability may help victims maximize their recovery.
Source: The Press Enterprise , "Temecula: One dead, six injured, when truck tries to pass big rig (update)", Sarah Burge , November 14, 2014