On the night of Thursday, December 8th, four year-old Jose Toscano-Penuelas was struck and killed by an SUV. The accident occurred in the parking lot of a Phoenix Walmart near 89th Avenue and Thomas Road.
The toddler was pushing a shopping cart in the parking lot when he was struck by a Ford Explorer. The driver claimed that the boy was darting in and out of traffic and that he didn’t see the child until it was too late. According to the report, the boy’s mother was putting groceries into her car when the accident occurred.
Two nurses were serendipitously nearby and performed CPR on the child until emergency services arrived.
The police found the driver not to be impaired and did not issue him a citation. The police said that the driver was “emotionally hit hard by the incident.”
Drivers in shopping center parking lots have obligations to drive cautiously to avoid collisions with other vehicles, carts, and people. Likewise, parents have obligations to watch their children to ensure their safety.
It’s possible that the family will pursue wrongful death charges against the driver. A wrongful death claim may be brought by the survivors of someone who has died due to another person’s negligence. If the child’s parents sue for wrongful death, they will request the damages that their son would have been able to collect from the driver for negligence if he had survived the accident. If the driver was not negligent when the accident occurred, as indicated by the lack of citation, the family will not win their lawsuit. Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 12-611 – 12-613 govern wrongful death lawsuits.
Conversely, the driver may have a claim against the child’s mother if he requires treatment for the emotional distress he experienced after the accident. Just as the person who causes an accident is responsible for the physical injuries they cause, a person can also be held financially responsible for the emotional damage they cause.
If you have experienced physical or emotional injuries after being in an automobile accident, please contact the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at the personal injury law firm Oracle Law Group today.