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Wrongful death suit filed in rescue case

The families of two Los Angeles women who were electrocuted when they tried to rescue a driver who had crashed his truck into a power pole have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and county, the city's Department of Water and Power and the driver. The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the city created a concealed trap that led to the deaths following the auto crash.

The women were electrocuted when they stepped into a pool of water that contained exposed wires electrified by 4,800 volts of electricity. A man had been trapped in his SUV after it went off road, shearing a fire hydrant and ramming into a light pole. The driver was later arrested and pled not guilty to charges of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Wrongful death cases are those involving the wrongful death of a person due to another's negligence or recklessness. They are brought by the deceased's representative, typically a family member or an attorney. In this particular case, the families of the two women are alleging that the city of Los Angeles, its utility provider and the driver negligently created a danger that led to the deaths of the women.

In the law of personal injury, the rescue doctrine holds that a defendant can be liable for not only the injury to the plaintiff, but also any injuries that occur when people attempt to rescue the plaintiff. The rescue itself must be reasonably undertaken, and the defendant's negligence must be the proximate cause of injury in the incident.

Anyone who has lost a family member or loved one to a wrongful death is entitled to seek a just and fair monetary compensation in the form of court-ordered damages. By seeking a personal injury suit, there is the opportunity to hold the defendant accountable for negligence and account for expenses such as lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering.

Source: NBC Los Angeles, "Wrongful death lawsuits filed in Good Samaritan electrocutions," Jason Kandel and Michelle Valles, Aug. 9, 2013.

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