A 67-year-old woman trying out a “go kart-like” vehicle at a California swap meet was killed last week when she lost control of the vehicle, drove out into traffic and was hit by a car. The sudden and unexpected tragedy raises a host of legal questions, particularly concerning liability and whether the woman’s accident can be defined as a wrongful death.
Family members later told the Orange County Register that Hwa Oh had never driven a go-kart before. The newspaper reports that while visiting the swap meet with her sister she accepted an offer to try out the go-kart in the facility’s parking lot. According to an account of the accident by the Associated Press, moments after taking the wheel the woman “lost control of the cart and ran through some bushes, across a sidewalk and onto a street.” She was pronounced dead at an area hospital a short time after the accident.
The AP report notes that law enforcement did not issue any citations at the scene of the accident. That decision by the local police does not, however, necessarily foreclose the possibility of legal action. One has to ask whether appropriate safety measures were in place in the parking lot before the woman climbed into the go-kart. We know from her surviving relatives that she had never driven such a vehicle, but did the cart’s owner ever ask that question? Should the owner of the property even have allowed people to drive around an active parking lot in small, fast, unsafe vehicles?
These are the sort of questions that an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney can help you address in the wake of a fatal accident, or one that causes a serious injury. Here in Oregon the laws defining wrongful death can be difficult for the layperson to understand. A Portland wrongful death attorney can, however, walk you through the nuances of the law to help determine whether the court system is the best avenue for you to follow when seeking justice in the wake of tragedy.
Orange County Register: Family: Woman killed in go-kart had never driven one before
AP via Los Angeles Times: Southern Calif. Woman driving go kart-like vehicle dies after veering into traffic