A church-going family already struggling through difficult financial circumstances arranged for a family outing in mid-June. The Contra Costa County family planned to travel to San Jose for barbecued ribs and a trip to a local flea market. They made it just five miles from their home in Brentwood before tragedy struck. The resulting car crash was sudden and unexpected, seriously injuring the parents and their four boys, and also causing the death of the mother’s 4-month-old unborn son.

Further details of the car crash were scarce, though it was reported that the driver whose car struck the family died in the accident. That individual was said to have ignored a red traffic light. Two weeks after the tragic collision, the mother remained in the hospital, though the four children and father were released at varying times. The father reportedly passed out on impact and suffered broken ribs and piercing pain. Doctors say the man — who apparently has no health insurance for himself — will take half a year to mend.

The family had already been in financial difficulty. A prior back injury limited the father’s ability to maintain consistent and meaningful employment over the past decade. The mother was working on a local fruit farm, earning just $8 an hour. To say that the family is now in the midst of a financial crisis is an understatement, and they worry how they will be able to meet their monthly rent of more than $1,100. Nevertheless, community efforts have sought to lend assistance at an obviously crucial time.

It is a tragedy any time an individual loses their life in a California car crash. When the person killed also caused the accident, other victims are often unsure of their rights under our personal injury laws. Each person injured by the negligence of a party that died in such an accident has the right to seek reimbursement from that individual’s estate as well as any separate owner of the vehicle the wrongdoer was operating. It can only be hoped that this Contra Costa County family finds to strength to endure that tragedy and successfully conquer the financial issues that confront them.

Source: Contra Costa Times, “Brentwood family recuperating from fatal Vasco Road crash,” Rowena Coetsee, June 28, 2013