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Canadian Family Involved in Fatal Crash in California; Out-of-State Victims Entitled to Seek Compensation in California Courts

  • Published: December 25, 2010

A Canadian man in California on a business trip lost his wife and almost lost his ten-month-old son in a head-on crash Friday. According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, 29-year-old Jaye Wass of Ottawa, Canada, was driving northbound on Highway 1 when her vehicle was hit head-on by a southbound Jeep that had crossed into the oncoming lanes of traffic. Wass died at the scene. Her son, Kyler, who was secured in a rear car seat, was severely injured with a fracture to the side of his head. Kyler is expected to remain at the hospital for two weeks.

Wass’s husband, Mike, had just received an upbeat text message from his wife 15 minutes before the crash. Jaye had been sightseeing with her son while Mike was attending to business matters. It was to be their last outing before the family returned home to Ottawa.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the unidentified 63-year-old man who caused the accident was suspected of being under the influence of marijuana. He was seriously injured in the crash and died later at Valley Medical Center.

Our hearts go out to the Wass family. Tragedies like this are bad enough under normal circumstances, but when they take place in another state or country, that can add to the burden of survivors drawn into the legal system, either for a criminal case or civil claim.

Individuals from other states or other countries are equally entitled to the protections offered by our legal system when a loved one is hurt or killed in California. Mike Wass and others in a similar position may obtain compensation through a wrongful death claim. They may be entitled to funeral and burial costs; economic damages for the financial contributions the decedent might have made to the family if he or she had lived; and damages for loss of love, society, companionship, comfort, and affection.

Meanwhile, through a personal injury claim, Kyler and other children injured under similar conditions, may be entitled to compensation for current and projected medical costs, and pain and suffering. Depending on the age of the child and the severity of the injuries, a survivor may also be entitled to compensation for future lost income.

Head on collisions.