An elderly couple from Redmond has been killed and two other people were critically injured on Monday afternoon in a head-on collision on State Route 522 near Fales Road outside of Maltby.
According to news reports, it appears that the male driver of a Mitsubishi Eclipse heading eastbound drifted out of his lane, over-corrected and then crossed the center line striking a Ford Fusion head-on. Speculation is that the driver may have been distracted.
A female passenger riding in the Ford died at the accident scene. The driver of the Ford died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The Mitsubishi driver along with a female child who was riding in the rear seat are said to be in critical condition at Harborview.
State Route 522 was listed in a 1995 Reader’s Digest article as “America’s Most Dangerous Highways.” Forbes Magazine, in a July 2007 article, also listed the highway in an article titled “America’s Killer Roads.”
State Route 522 is on slate for being widened but lack of funding has stalled the project.
Distracted Driving and Car Accidents
The Washington State Patrol will investigate this accident and determine what role driver distraction played. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 10% of all fatal car accidents in the U.S. involves driver distraction.
Driver distraction can include any behavior which takes the driver’s eyes, hands or mind off of the task at hand, which should be driving. It can include any of the following driver behaviors:
- Taking eyes off of the road — including to read billboards, looking at things in the car, looking into the mirror, personal grooming, reading a map, reading a text, reaching for something that has fallen and looking after children.
- Taking hands off of the steering wheel — including taking hands off the wheel to text, eat, drink, use a cell phone, manipulate the radio or CD, manipulating automobile controls.
- Driving without being mindful — including talking with passengers, being preoccupied, daydreaming, using a cell phone.
Distracted Driving Liability in Washington State
In Washington state, distracted drivers can be held liable for the injuries or the deaths caused by their action. The victim, or the family of a victims, can file a claim against the driver to recover compensation for medical costs and other losses.
In the case of a victim who has died, the family is entitled to file a claim under Washington’s wrongful death statute. In the case of a fatal car accident, the family can request compensation for medical expenses, burial expenses and sometimes other damages such as loss of consortium.
Bellevue Attorney Represents Car Accident Victims
The Farber Law Group is dedicated to providing distracted driving victims with excellent legal representation. We have more than 40 years experience and are prepared to handle the most complex personal injury or wrongful death claims. We serve clients throughout the greater Seattle area, King County and Western Washington.