Unsafe Road to Blame in Fatal Auto Accident

In many cases of automobile accident litigation, the defendant in the case is a driver whose careless, reckless, distracted, or drunk driving caused or contributed to an accident.  However, effective Oklahoma City auto accident lawyers carefully investigate each case to determine all potentially at-fault parties.  Often, they discover that poor roadway design or maintenance is at least partly to blame for an accident.  Insufficient warnings and signage, poor maintenance, and inadequate safety features can all contribute to a serious or fatal car accident. A tragic accident near the Bronx Zoo in New York this weekend confirms the importance of proper roadway design in ensuring driver safety.  Over the weekend, a Honda Pilot carrying seven members of the same family clipped a highway divider, damaging a tire.  The driver of the vehicle, Maria Gonzales, 45, lost control of the vehicle.  It crossed three lanes of traffic, striking a curb that launched the SUV over a four foot guardrail, sending the vehicle plunging off the elevated highway and onto the ground six stories below. Killed in the accident were Gonzales; her 10-year-old daughter Jocelyn; Gonzales's parents, Jacob Nunez, 85, and Ana Julia Martinez, 81; Gonzales's sister, Maria Nunez, 39; and Nunez's two daughters, Niely Rosario, 7, and Marly Rosaria, 3.  At the time of the accident, the family was en route to a family gathering.  There were no survivors in the accident. Safety officials with the American Automobile Association (AAA) say that the poor design and inadequate safety features of the roadway are at least partially to blame for the accident.  According to Robert Sinclair, spokesman for the New York office of the AAA, the Bronx River Parkway, built in 1925, does not have the modern safety technology features for today's traffic needs.  He says that three sections of the parkway, including one at the accident site, appear on the state's "5 percent list," a federally mandated list defining the locations "exhibiting the most severe highway safety needs."  Items of concern include:

  • Four-foot guardrails deemed inadequate for an elevated highway
  • A two-foot curb, inappropriate for a high-speed highway, because it serves as a "launching pad" sending vehicles airborne
  • Limited sight distance
Last year, a vehicle fell off the highway on the same stretch of road. For survivors of serious accidents, catastrophic injuries may result in permanent disability and a lifetime of medical care.  For family members of those killed in fatal accidents, overwhelming grief and financial burdens can seem insurmountable.  An Oklahoma auto accident attorney can help you achieve some measure of justice and relief by pursuing financial compensation from those liable for your injuries and losses.  To find out more, call to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in Oklahoma City.