San Diego News 6’s Elex Michaelson reported that 27-year-old Oscar Lopez was killed and his 5-year-old son was injured after they were both ejected from their vehicle shortly after midnight on April 4, 2010. Lopez and his son were asleep in the back of their SUV, coming home from an Easter party, when 43-year-old William Romero, who was intoxicated at the time, lost control of his vehicle and struck the Lopez’s Ford Explorer. According to the CHP both vehicles were travelling on I-5, south of Basilone Road when the auto accident occurred. Oscar Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene and his son was taken to a hospital. Romero fled the scene on foot but was later taken into custody and arrested by Border Patrol Police at San Onofre State Beach. Later in the week, Romero pled not guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter and other charges.
Our condolences go out to Mr. Lopez’s wife Angela ,Oscar Jr. and their family and friends.
Applicable California Law
In addition to the criminal chargers, Romero will be liable for damages in causing the wrongful death of Mr. Lopez as provided by California’s Wrongful Death Statute, any physical injury Angela and Oscar Jr. sustained as well as potential punitive damages for gross negligence. Having witnessed the death of their husband and father Angela and Oscar Jr. also have claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress. However, the fact that Oscar and Oscar Jr. were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the accident, will reduce the value of any claims in proportion to their responsibility for contributing to their own injuries as being comparatively negligent.
The wrongful death of a loved one is catastrophic and money alone is never adequate to compensate a family for their loss. Monetary compensation is merely an attempt to restore the injured to their pre-accident status. Victims of auto accidents,truck accidents or those who have suffered serious physical injury, or the wrongful death of a loved one should seek emotional support, and advice from experts. The guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney can be invaluable.