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Washington family denies conclusions of accident investigation

Teen drivers, as Seattle readers may know, present a much higher risk of being involved in an auto accident than more experienced drivers. In some cases, as one Marysville family has learned, the statistics surrounding the risks to teen drivers may tend to bias the results of an accident investigation.

In the aftermath of a 2011 fatal car accident, the family finds itself struggling to disprove investigators' conclusions that speed, rather than unsafe road conditions, represented the greatest contributing factor to an accident that left their teenage son with severe injuries from which he continues to try to heal and recover.

The accident took place on a hilly roadway in Snohomish County when a 16-year-old driver lost control of his 1997 Honda Civic. The car went airborne and crashed into trees on the side of the roadway. The driver suffered fatal injuries and his two passengers had to be transported to a Seattle hospital for treatment.

Police investigators blamed excessive speed for the crash and supported their conclusion with reports from other high school students who claimed that the teens involved in the accident had heard the teens talking about driving fast down the hill in order to "get air" over the crest of a rise.

The family involved in the lawsuit doubts the accuracy of the investigators' conclusions. They hired their own engineering expert who claims that the design of the roadway made it unsafe even at the posted speed limit. The family's suspicions are bolstered by the fact that the county began safety improvements on that section of road this summer.

As this tragic case illustrates, the results of an accident investigation can have a profound impact on a family's ability to recover compensation for the expenses and pain and suffering that result when a loved one becomes the victim of a serious accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help overcome police bias and make certain that the victim's side of the story gets a chance to be heard.

Source: The Herald, "Speed cited in crash that killed Marysville boy," Noah Haglund, Oct. 19, 2012

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