The families of two women who died while trying to rescue a driver who was trapped in his vehicle after an accident say the city and county of Los Angeles are responsible for their loved one's deaths. Family members have filed a wrongful death claim in Los Angeles Superior Court that says the local utility created a concealed trap that resulted in the women's electrocution.
The accident happened when an SUV crashed into a power pole and fire hydrant. The driver was trapped inside, and the two women went to help him. As they approach the vehicle, they stepped into a pool of water and were electrocuted. The water had come into contact with exposed wires that were electrified by 4,800 volts.
The lawsuit filed by family members names the city and county of Los Angeles, the city Department of Water and Power, as well as the driver. The driver was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. He has pleaded not guilty.
Wrongful death cases involve allegations that someone died as the result of the negligence or misconduct of another. The claims seek compensation for the surviving family member's losses. In some cases, the defendant in a wrongful death claim is also a defendant in a criminal case. In this case, the driver is involved in both criminal and criminal acts.
Wrongful death cases can also involve people or entities that have not been charged with a crime as a result of someone's death, such as the government entities named in the families' wrongful death claims.
Source: NBC 4, "Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed in Good Samaritan Electrocutions," By Jason Kandel and Michelle Valles, August 9, 2013