Earlier this month, Los Angeles’ famed Venice Beach boardwalk became the scene of a horrific tragedy, when a man drove his Dodge Avenger around barriers and onto the pedestrian area of the boardwalk The incident injured 16 people and killed one woman. The deceased victim was a 32-year-old tourist from Italy who was on her honeymoon at the time of the deadly incident.
Police and investigators are saying this was not just an ordinary car accident, but that the driver, a 38-year-old man from Colorado, acted willfully when he drove his car into the crowded tourist area. Details about the driver were sketchy, but suggest that he had no known address and a varied, albeit minor, criminal history prior to his deadly vehicular incident. The driver is facing at least 34 criminal counts, including murder and assault.
The accident investigation revealed that the man allegedly intentionally drove around safety barriers designed to protect pedestrians, but could not point to a motive or reason for his actions. The driver’s defense attorney claimed the man regretted the incident and did not try to harm anyone.
Regardless of whether his conduct was intentional and criminal, this man took an innocent life and injured many other people. If the victims or their families bring civil claims against the driver, he could be found liable and required to pay for damages, including pain and suffering, medical expenses and wrongful death.
In addition, victims may be interested in looking into whether the city, which has a duty of care to protect pedestrians at this popular tourist destination, took the proper precautions to keep tragedies like this from occurring. If the city was negligent in its duty to protect the public, this may also constitute grounds for a civil lawsuit, and the victims could be entitled to damages.
Source: KFMB-TV CBS 8, “Lawyer: Deadly boardwalk crash ‘horrible accident’,” P. Solomon Banda, Colleen Barry & Raquel Maria Dillon, Aug. 6, 2013.