Surviving family members of a Beaver Dam, Alaska, woman killed in an auto crash on November 28 have filed a wrongful death suit against multiple parties.
22-year-old Diamond M. Avalos was riding in a 1996 Honda Civic driven by Guadalupe Rodriguez Jr., then 19. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the Civic collided with a curb, then struck a road sign and a tree before rolling completely over in front of the nearby Beaver Dam Middle School. Rodriguez was ejected from the vehicle in the accident, and suffered numerous injuries as a result. Avalos was killed almost immediately by blunt force trauma, according to medical investigators.
Velma Avalos, Diamond’s mother, is named along with Diamond’s estate as the plaintiff in the case. Defendants named so far include Rodriguez, Sentry Insurance and a Derek Hernandez, though Hernandez’ role in the accident is as yet unclear. There are other defendants named as well, including numerous insurance companies.
One complicating factor is that the status of the vehicle’s ownership is so far in dispute. This could be the complicating element that drew Hernandez into the matter. If he owned the vehicle that Rodriguez was driving, he can be held civilly liable for what happens when it is driven.
Additionally, a John and Jane Doe have been named in the case. Once more, the exact reasons for their involvement are unclear.
This case in particular highlights the complexity that can go into a civil wrongful death case. The exact nature of what is admissible or valid is very different from the standards in criminal cases, so the specific choices as to who is included in a case as defendants, plaintiffs or even witnesses is often a murky matter requiring expert attention from very skilled and veteran attorneys.
Representatives and council for each side of the case could not be reached for comment as of this writing.