The tragic results of drunk driving accidents are no secret; however, these accidents are always a shock to families that suffer a loss. Such an event has recently occurred in League City, Texas. Tragedy has struck a family who lost their daughter in a car accident. The driver alleged to be responsible was arrested after blood tests following the accident came up positive for alcohol. Her blood alcohol content level was reported to be at .249 at the time of the accident, which is over 3 times Texas’s legal limit. The family that lost their daughter in the accident has since filed a lawsuit against the alleged drunk driver, and also the makers of the automobile they were riding in.
When the Nalepa family lost their daughter, the family was struck by a car driven by Erika Diebel. Diebel was arrested for driving drunk. However, of interest, in this case, is the way the safety features of the Nalepa family’s car are alleged to have not worked properly. The family’s attorneys allege that in the collision, the force of the impact caused the driver’s seat to collapse backward. The Nalepa family’s daughter was sitting in the backseat, with her seatbelt on, just behind the driver’s seat. The impact of the accident, combined with the driver’s seat’s malfunction are alleged to have caused Kelsey Nalepa to lose her life at just 8 years of age.
The Nalepa family filed their lawsuit against both Diebel, as well as the automaker, Ford. In their suit, they allege both Diebel’s responsibility for the accident, as well as Ford’s hand in the malfunctioning of the driver’s seat. Their case alleges negligent design and manufacture, even going as far as to call these seats dangerous. Ford has declined to comment on any on-going litigation, however, no recall of these seats is currently going on, as of this writing. The family is likely to seek damages for wrongful death, as well as any related damages that are allowed under the law.
It is sometimes difficult to determine exactly who might be at fault when a serious injury occurs. As seen in this instance, it is possible that not only did the intoxicated driver play a role in the death of a child, but there were concerns about a potential auto defect in addition. Naming multiple defendants is a fairly common practice in civil lawsuits. In some cases, defendants may change, some may be added to the claim, and some may be removed. This is heavily dependent on what the investigation phase of the lawsuit reveals. For this reason, your attorney may consider naming multiple defendants at the start of the case and let the investigation proceed and bring more facts to light. As more evidence comes forward, defendants may be dropped, or added, if the court allows.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an impaired driver, contact the Gautreaux Law Firm today.