The children of a deceased motorcyclist finally settled a wrongful death lawsuit in mid-July. Their 60-year-old dad died on impact after being hit at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Marengo Avenue in Pasadena on Oct. 6, 2016. Since the operator of the vehicle was unknown until late last year, their lawsuit was filed and won against the vehicle's owner in this California case.
Witnesses that police interviewed at the scene of the crash reported seeing a Tesla operator speeding while heading northbound along Marengo Avenue shortly before the incident occurred. That driver collided into the motorcyclist as he was approaching the Washington Boulevard intersection just before 11:40 p.m.
The Tesla's driver had fled on foot by the time Pasadena Police Department officers had arrived at the crash scene. They didn't apprehend the 23-year-old man responsible for the fatal incident until last year. He remains in jail on grand theft of an automobile, hit-and-run driving resulting in death, vehicular manslaughter and murder charges. He was slated to appear in Pasadena Superior Court on July 23 for a hearing.
Since the identity of the driver of the Tesla wasn't known until his arrest in 2018, he was referred to as "Doe 1" in the June 2017 civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
In that filing, the motorcyclist's five children and their legal representatives explained their logic behind suing the Tesla's owner. They argued that he had loaned his vehicle to someone before the crash occurred and should be held responsible for the driver's actions.
The 2015 Tesla Model S's owner submitted a sworn statement to the court letting them know that he'd never given anyone permission to drive his vehicle other than his wife. The plaintiffs argued that he loaned it to someone else. The defendant countered that their car had been stolen by the 23-year-old defendant. Ultimately a jury decided in the plaintiffs' favor and awarded them an undisclosed settlement.
In most motorcycle accident cases, the plaintiff sues the motorist who struck them for their injuries or wrongful death. It may be possible for them to go after someone else, such as the owner of the car when the driver is unknown though. An attorney can advise you who you may sue if you've been involved in a serious crash.