Girardi | Keese

Car accident leads to charges for Los Angeles councilman's aide

A fatal automobile accident earlier this year has resulted in charges for the driver, an aide to a Los Angeles councilman. The charge is one issued when there is evidence that a driver was distracted in a manner that caused the car accident. Should he be convicted, he could face a year in a county jail. He also may be subject to a wrongful death claim.

The Los Angeles car accident occurred when the aide was driving in North Hollywood. A pedestrian stepped into the road at an intersection and was struck by the aide's vehicle. The aide remained on the scene of the accident until officials arrived. The victim was pronounced dead some time after the accident, with multiple blunt force traumatic injuries being cited as the cause.

The aide was not found to have been under the influence at the time of the accident, nor was he suspected to have been driving with excessive speed. However, it is speculated that he may have been in the process of changing lanes or focused on something else that kept him from seeing the pedestrian in the street until it was too late. It was found that the victim had a blood alcohol level significantly over the legal driving limit, though this wouldn't excuse the driver from any potential fault in the accident.

It remains to be seen what the result of the criminal allegations will be. Regardless of the outcome, the victim's surviving family retains the right under California law to see monetary damages by the filing of a wrongful death claim as a result of the fatal car accident. Upon proof that the driver acted negligently in a manner that caused the fatality, financial reimbursement for expenses related to the collision may be appropriate.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Traffic death yields misdemeanor charge against L.A. councilman's aide," Aug. 17, 2012

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