Back in July we discussed the case of a fatal car accident in which the wrong driver was blamed for causing it. Although police eventually cleared her name by declaring that it was the deceased victim who drove into oncoming traffic, the woman who survived the crash continues to struggle with her own debilitating injuries.
The May crash on Highway 1 resulted in a confusing mess for accident investigators to untangle. When the surviving San Gregorio, California, woman awoke in a hospital bed, she had no memory of the incident. She was simply told that another woman had died and that it was her fault. It wasn't until two months later that police, acting on information provided by the surviving victim's father, recanted their accusation. An ATM receipt from a withdrawal the night of the crash proved that the woman was driving south, not north as police had assumed. That piece of evidence exonerated the woman, but it didn't lessen the serious injuries she'd suffered, nor did it take away her mounting medical bills.
The 54-year-old woman, a math and music teacher on the San Mateo County coast, continues to use a wheelchair and a walker and has not been able to return to work. It was only recently that she became well enough to start physical therapy. Meanwhile, she's been struggling to support herself and her 10-year-old daughter, relying on her own savings and loans from friends to pay the bills. With almost $1 million in medical expenses piling up, she's unsure what the future holds both physically and financially.
Whereas before she may have been subject to a wrongful death lawsuit by the deceased victim's family, she may now have the option of filing a personal injury suit against the woman's estate. When car accidents sideline victims with injury and debt, a civil suit is one way to manage recovery.
Source: San Mateo County Times, "Peninsula driver exonerated in San Jose woman's death speaks out," Joshua Melvin, Aug. 17, 2012
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