Hope Angeli Castellano, 26, died when she was ejected from a vehicle that rolled over in a West Sacramento accident according to authorities. She was ejected from the vehicle and was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.
The crash took place on Jefferson Boulevard near Stone Boulevard. The driver, Thanh Hoang, 27, was treated for moderate injuries and released from a local hospital while another passenger, Randolf Enriquez, 27, was taken to a hospital with major injuries. He has since been released, however.
Authorities believe that Hoang was driving the Toyota Prius south on Jefferson when he veered off the road on the west side. The reason for this move is currently under investigation and authorities have offered no reason for the crash. The car rolled over once and landed right-side up; Castellano was in the back seat and was ejected from the vehicle during the rollover.
Rollover Accidents Common With Certain Vehicles
It is not as common to see a rollover accident with a vehicle such as a Prius. In most cases, rollovers occur with light trucks and SUVs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 15,000 people who are involved in rollover accidents are ejected from the vehicles, and 10,500 die each year. It is clear that rollover accidents are very serious and can have deadly consequences.
The different center of gravity in an SUV or small truck makes them more prone to rollover. However, vehicle designers are working on ways to improve the rollover tendencies of all vehicles and keep people safer.
Can I Collect Damages In A Car Accident If I Am Not Wearing A Seatbelt?
Tragically, the victim in this accident was not wearing her seat belt. Seat belts have been shown in many studies to prevent fatalities and serious injuries, especially in rollover crashes. Most ejections occur due to lack of seat belt use.
If a victim is not wearing a seat belt, it may reduce the amount that he or she can collect for injuries, although it does not necessarily negate the ability to recover compensation completely. In California, victims or the families of those killed in car accidents may be able to collect a percentage of the compensation to which they would normally be entitled even if they contributed somewhat to the accident. This doctrine is known as “comparative liability” and it is up to a jury to determine how much a victim or a victim’s family may recover by comparing the victim’s negligence to that of the person who caused the accident.
A personal injury attorney may be able to help victims recover damages for all of their injuries, including medical bills, pain and suffering and lost income. Families who have lost loved ones may also be able to collect damages as part of a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who caused the accident.