Our heart goes out to the family of Kathy Wetherell of Van Nuys, California. It has been reported that she was tragically killed when her vehicle struck a tour bus head-on on State Rout 74 east of Wickenburg.
It was reported that Ms. Wetherell may have been trying to avoid an animal when she steered into the path of the bus. Whatever happened, it certainly cannot undo the tragedy of this horrible wrongful death on our Arizona Highways. Also, we do not know, from the limited report available, whether or not Ms. Wetherell was in fact trying to avoid a vehicle and if so, what vehicle.
However, this does raise a question that we have seen before as personal injury lawyers in Arizona. We have seen owners of cattle and other livestock fail to properly fence in their property to avoid the wandering of livestock into the roadway. What is going to happen when the owner of livestock does not keep the fence properly secured and allows the livestock to roam right into the pathway of an oncoming car. Tragedies such as this. While we do not know whether or not Ms. Wetherell was a victim of this type of negligence, it must be stopped. The people who own livestock must be held accountable for their actions. Owners of livestock know that livestock will roam. They know that if livestock roams in the way of an innocent motorist, serious personal injury or tragic wrongful death is likely to occur. When that happens, that is a pure negligence case. Lawyers, such as Breyer Law Offices, help people and families bring claims that have suffered as a result of the negligence of others.
Of course, whether in this incident or any others, and even where it is the result of a negligent act of another, the decision whether to bring a wrongful death claim in Arizona is not an easy one. There are many decisions a family must make. It is not simply a matter of whether or not there is a valid wrongful death claim as a result of wandering livestock, or a valid wrongful death claim as a result of a negligent motorist, but whether or not it is the right decision for that person and that family to pursue the claim. Not every claim that exists under law needs to be brought into the courts. However, a family should be able to speak to someone who will give them honest answers so they can make the best decision for themselves in deciding whether or not to consider or pursue a claim.