San Diego News 6 reported that 34-year-old Albert Holman of Mira Mesa was fatally injured while walking home from his birthday celebration on October 25, 2010. The car accident happened on the State Route 56, near Black Mountain Road exit, in Rancho Penasquitos. Holman was celebrating his 34th birthday at an Irish Pub in Carmel Mountain with friends, when he decided to walk home instead of driving because he had been drinking. His body was found on the side of the road early Tuesday morning. Police investigators impounded a Nissan Sentra from a home in Rancho Penasquitos. The vehicle had a shattered windshield, major front end damage, and a shoe believed to belong to the victim waged underneath it. The registered owner of the vehicle, 23-year-old Nicole Koval, who is a Cal State San Marcos nursing student turned herself in to authorities accompanied by her attorney. Friends of the victim say that Koval and Holman knew each other. They had met at the Carmel Mountain TGI Fridays where she worked as a server. According to CHP officer Art Athans, Koval’s vehicle was believed to be the first of two vehicles that hit the victim, criminal charges have yet to be filed. CHP investigators continue to look into the matter.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Holman.
Applicable California Law
Koval faces potential criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident, as well as felony hit and run (see my prior Blog post on California Hit And Run law). In addition, she would be liable for the wrongful death of the victim (see my prior Blog post on California wrongful law). However, it is not clear whether the alleged second vehicle caused, or contributed to the victim’s death, which will then affect Koval’s liability proportionately. Furthermore, it is not clear what the victim was doing walking along the freeway, which may have contributed to his death and therefore, would reduce the value of any potential claims. Do the responsible parties have adequate insurance coverage? Does the victim have adequate uninsured/under insured coverage of his own if the responsible parties coverage is inadequate? These are just some of the important questions requiring further investigation.
A birthday celebration ends in a tragic death. Pedestrians are extremely vulnerable and are at greater risk of being the victims of auto accidents, truck accidents, or bus accidents resulting in serious injury or wrongful death. Investigating the circumstances of an accident and analyzing the facts is one of the many benefits of talking to an experienced personal injury attorney.