Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Promoter and Driver Sued in Fatal Off-Road Race Accident

Following a fatal off-road race crash that killed eight spectators, the mother of one of the victims, Andrew Therrien, 22, of Riverside has filed a claim against the race promoter and the driver.

The lawsuit filed by Doris Levinson is in behalf of Therrien’s young daughter named Johnson Valley off-road race promoter MDR Productions and driver Brett Sloppy as defendants. According to her claim, the promoter and the driver acted recklessly and negligently on the fatal August 14 race and failed to take proper precautions which led to the driver’s truck flipping into a crowd of people.

Allegedly, Therrien lost his life when he pushed his daughter out of the way of the truck and 7 other people died a few feet away from the track. Through her attorneys, Levinson claims that MDR did not follow established safety practices, failed to warn spectators about dangerous spots and keep them out, as well as for negligently understaffing the event. Further, the driver was accused of driving recklessly in a crowded area.

In addition to the above-mentioned defendants, the lawsuit also seeks to hold the Bureau of Land Management liable as it failed to oversee its permitting procedures which led to the accident. A claim has been filed against BLM, the first step in suing the federal government.

While human life is priceless and a lawsuit can never bring back a loved one lost in an accident – personal injury litigation is one way to help the victims or his surviving family meet the expenses and losses incurred after a death or an injury.

In fact, most personal injury or wrongful death claims seek to recover “damages”. Damages is a legal term used to define compensation paid by a defendant for an injury or loss – this may also be awarded in order to punish the defendant for his negligence or fault.

There are two basic types of damages – compensatory and punitive. The former is to provide compensation for actual expenses or losses suffered by the victim in order to restore him to his condition before the accident occurred. This includes medical expenses, loss of wages, doctor’s fees, and other related costs. Again, while human life and pain has no actual value, payment of compensatory damages may be used to reimburse all expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

Punitive damages on the other hand, when awarded are used to punish the defendant and to deter others from committing the same mistake or misconduct.