Early Friday morning, May 31st, two people died in a fiery two-car collision. The crash occurred on I-405 in the West Los Angeles neighborhood of Palms, near National Boulevard. California Highway Patrol officers responded to the scene at 2:13 am where they learned a Toyota Prius and a commercial truck collided in the northbound lanes.

CHP Officer Erik Larsen said the collision caused the Prius to burst into flames, and the Los Angeles Fire Department was called. A man and woman were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Larsen. The two deceased have not yet been identified.

CHP closed all northbound lanes of the 405 freeway so crews could work to clear the scene. All lanes were reopened just after 6:30 am. Officials are still investigating the cause of the collision.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents are a common occurrence in the United States. Data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows there were nearly 40,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2021, resulting in almost 50,000 deaths.

Common causes of car accidents that have the potential to result in fatalities include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Ignoring traffic signals or signs
  • Poor road conditions
  • Driver fatigue
  • Vehicle defects
  • Failure to properly check blind spots
  • And more

So, what can you do to help avoid being in a collision?

  1. Stay Focused: keep your attention on the road and avoid distractions like using your phone, eating, or changing the radio while you drive.
  2. Follow the Posted Speed Limit: adhere to the posted speed limit and adjust your speed appropriately to road and traffic conditions.
  3. Drive Sober: driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs your awareness and reaction time.
  4. Obey Traffic Signals: respect traffic lights, stop signs, and yield signs to avoid collisions at intersections.
  5. Avoid Driving Aggressively: stay calm and patient, even in heavy traffic. Avoid engaging in road rage behaviors like tailgating, or retaliating against other aggressive drivers.

Potential Legal Action Available to the Victims and Their Families

“Our hearts go out to the victims and the families who lost loved ones in the accident that occurred in Palms Friday morning,” says Brett Schreiber, attorney at Singleton Schreiber, “We hope officials can quickly determine the cause of the accident so that those involved can find some peace. Depending on what officials determine to be the cause of the Friday morning collision, there may be several avenues of legal action available to the victims involved and their families. Those involved could consider contacting a lawyer to learn more.”

Options available to victims and their families may include:

  • Personal injury claims – if the truck driver was injured due to another party’s negligence they may be entitled to compensation.
  • Wrongful death claims – if the accident was caused due to the negligent actions of another party, the families of the man and woman who died may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
  • Employer Liability – if the accident was caused due to negligence on behalf of the trucking company, they may potentially be held liable. If the trucking company failed to provide proper training, pushed drivers to violate Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to meet deadlines, or failed to properly maintain the vehicle, they may be held liable.
  • Roadway Conditions Claims – if the accident occurred due to poor roadway conditions, governmental entities may be held responsible for causing the accident. Things such as improper design, failure to fix dangerous potholes, or to remove debris from the roadway could result in such a claim.

If you have been injured in a car accident or tragically lost a loved one and believe you may have a wrongful death or personal injury claim contact the attorneys at Singleton Schreiber to learn how they may be able to help. Call (619) 771-3473 or via email at info@singletonschreiber.com.