Last week, a Modesto family suffered a tragic loss. A teenager, driving while allegedly under the influence, drove a luxury automobile into another passenger car causing the passenger vehicle to roll over. A mother and daughter lost their lives in this senseless accident. Indeed, the State will likely pursue criminal charges against the teenage driver.
The relatives of the mother and daughter will also be able to pursue the teenager under California’s wrongful death statute (California Civil Code section 377.60). That statute allows certain family members and those dependent upon the decedents to recover for the loss of love, care, comfort, and society as well as financial support provided by the decedents. Hopefully, the teenage driver was covered under an automobile liability insurance policy.
The relatives and dependents, however, do not have to limit their wrongful death action to the teenage driver. They can explore a negligence action against those adults that furnished any alcoholic beverages to the teenage driver that may have caused the driver to become intoxicated while driving. Under California Civil Code section 1714(d), parents, guardians or adults that knowingly furnish alcoholic beverages, at his or her residence, to a person under 21 years of age are liable for the injuries and death caused by the latter person if the alcoholic beverages were a proximate cause of the injury or death.
The question here is whether the teenage driver was furnished alcohol by an adult and was that alcohol furnished at the adult’s residence. If so, then those family members and dependents may have additional sources of compensation against those adults that provided the alcohol to the teenage driver. The adult(s) may even have criminal liability.
At Curtis Legal Group, we fight for the victims of accidents. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the family members of those that died in this horrific crash.