Liability for passenger injury

My son was in an accident with his girlfriend. She picked him up and they were going to her house in a town a few miles away. She turned off the highway to take a back road and started driving recklessly. She had her cell phone recording the whole time. My son yelled at her to slow down and let him out of the car; you can hear the motor of the car speeding up. She then sharply veered off the left side of the road, hitting a ditch, rolling a few times along the ditch before landing upside down in a field. She was killed instantly. There were no signs of skid marks or any indication that the vehicle overcorrected. A witness saw the car take a sharp left and flip into the air. She was calm the whole recording which is highly unusual for her. She was bi-polar and suicidal. It has been 7 weeks since the accident. My son so far has $17,000 in medical bills and is having emotional problems after seeing the major injuries she sustained but we have not been able to get their insurance information. The car was registered to her mother. The family is blaming him and he was interrogated by the police 5 weeks ago. How are we supposed to get this resolved?

Asked on April 30, 2017 under Personal Injury, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You will have to sue the deceased's "estate" (if she was 18 or over), which is any money or property left behind when she passed, and also her mother, who may be liable because someone whom she permitted to use her car was driving carelessly: drivers are responsible when permitted drivers are neglient, or unreasonably careless. (If the girlfriend was under 18, the mother would also be liable as the legal guardian of a minor who caused harm to another.) To win, you and/or your son (if he is 18 or mover, he sues; if under 18, you sue for him) will have to prove that the girlfriend was driving recklessy and caused his injuries. You would be well advised to speak with a personal injury attorney and have a lawyer handle this case for you and your son: based on the facts you describe, this case can get messy and complicated.

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