Justice and Safety for Crash Victims

Justice and Safety for Crash Victims

November, 2014

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

Justice for Crash Victims

It is a rare day when crash victims receive justice.  Justice for crash victims is too often, too little, too late, for too many people.
The NY Times has just reported on a rare Justice “Success Story” for crash victims:

“Candice Anderson received the bittersweet news Monday in a Texas courtroom, fighting back tears, and her arm around the mother of the boyfriend she had felt responsible for killing in a car crash 10 years ago.

The judge cleared Ms. Anderson in the death of the boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, even though she had pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide in the case years ago.

Ms. Anderson, 21 at the time of the crash, was driving her car when she inexplicably lost control and crashed into a tree. Mr. Erickson, her passenger, died at the scene, and Ms. Anderson has been racked with guilt ever since.

In getting her record cleared, Ms. Anderson benefited from an extraordinary — and long delayed — admission by General Motors, which on Monday for the first time publicly linked Mr. Erickson’s death to an ignition switch defect in millions of its small cars….”  

“Ms. Anderson’s Saturn Ion was among the cars equipped by G.M. with the defective switch, which can cause a loss of power, disabling power brakes, power steering and airbags. At least 35 deaths have been linked to the defect, which went unreported by G.M. for more than a decade.

In May 2007, five months before Ms. Anderson entered her guilty plea, G.M. had conducted an internal review of the crash and quietly ruled its car was to blame, but never let Ms. Anderson or local law enforcement officials know.

After the crash on Nov. 15, 2004, Ms. Anderson’s parents liquidated their 401(k) to retain a lawyer to defend her. While a deal with prosecutors spared her jail time, she was on probation for five years and paid more than $10,000 in fines and restitution.”  See 


This article illustrates the importance of media attention to the plight of crash victims. Thanks to trial lawyers, engineers, consumer advocates, congressional pressure, government agencies and officials, and citizens doing their parts, some justice can be achieved for some crash victims.
Safety for Crash Victims
But as we are all crash victims in so many ways, we need to achieve both justice and safety to prevent injuries to all future crash victims.  Both “success” stories and “suffering” stories of crash victims help move us as a society to achieve greater safety.  With about 100 crash deaths per day, plus 400 serious crash injuries per day, and costs of about $2 Billion per day occurring in the U.S.A. today — we have a great need for crash victim justice and safety.  See
NHTSA Report on Economic and Societal Costs at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812013.pdf


Leave a Reply