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Two-vehicle crash leaves many questions

Some traffic accidents leave no doubt about the sequence of events and the assignment of liability. Others raise more questions than they answer. The recent fatal collision of a pickup truck and sedan near Sammamish seems to raise few questions, but a careful inquiry shows that the determination of liability rests on questions that have not yet been answered.

The accident occurred at about 4:30 a.m. on SR-202 near Ames Lake Road. A pickup truck being driven by a 24-year-old male collided with the driver's side door on a Mustang being driven by a 19-year-old woman. The Mustang rolled and left the roadway, coming to rest in a ditch. The truck also left the roadway and struck a tree.

The woman died at the scene, and her two very young children passengers suffered serious injuries. Police said that they had suffered head injuries, and both of them were taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. The driver of the pickup was not seriously injured.

Police first attributed the accident to the woman attempting to make a dangerous left turn onto SR-202 as she left a private driveway. However, police gave no information about the speed of the truck or whether the driver was impaired by alcohol or drugs. Weather conditions in the area were described as "foggy," but police said that visibility was satisfactory at the time of the accident. The exact cause of the accident is being investigated by Washington State Police.

The driveway appears to intersect the highway on a curve, a situation that would require more caution by both drivers. If the truck driver were found to have exceeded the speed limit for the highway in general or for the curve where the accident happened, he may be deemed to have been primarily at fault for the accident. If investigators determine that the deceased driver had adequate visibility when she pulled out, she may be found to be primarily at fault. Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a similar accident may wish to consult an experienced personal injury attorney for an analysis of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for wrongful death or for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

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