A car accident in New Harmony, Utah, about 15 miles south of Cedar City, claimed the life of a father and his infant daughter this past Sunday, July 13, 2009. The Utah auto accident, involving three cars, also hurt five other people and shutdown the southbound lanes for seven hours.
A family of five from California was driving in the southbound lane when the driver swerved to avoid a deer. He overcorrected and his Range Rover flipped several times before it came to a stop in the middle of the freeway. Two of the passengers in the car, 31-year-old Olegario Angulo and his daughter, 4-month-old Assata were killed instantly. The KSL news reports that the father was wearing a seatbelt but his daughter was not in a car seat and was ejected from the Range Rover.
Video Courtesy of KSL.com.
To make matters worse, a few minutes later, another motorist, who couldn’t see the obstruction ahead, and who was driving a Toyota 4-Runner, slammed into the back of the Range Rover. Yet another vehicle, this time a pickup, was also unable to stop and similarly collided with the Range Rover.
The driver of the Range Rover was transported to Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City where he remains with serious injuries. The other two passengers were treated with less serious injuries. The two people in the pickup truck were flown to Intermountain Medical Center.
My condolences to the family as they deal with the aftermath of this tragic crash. I have been involved in single-car rollover cases that have involved deer. The first impulse will be to blame the deer. Unfortunately, deer do not carry insurance and are judgment proof. Usually in these cases, however, a claim can successfully be made against the driver of the vehicle. There may be issues of sleep deprivation and improper driving reaction that will allow a claim against the driver to be successful, at least with the insurance company. If the driver is a family member, it isn’t anything personal. The claim will usually be resolved, especially in a fatality case, with the insurance company anyway.
An issue in this case is sure to be adequacy of insurance. Two people perished and others were seriously injured. I would venture that the insurance limits of the driver will not adequately cover the losses here. This is where “underinsured” insurance comes in. This is why it is critical to have sufficient limits so that in cases where the person who causes the crash has little or no insurance, there is a safety net.
Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah car accident attorney.