8 People are Killed at an Off-Road Racing Event in Lucerne Valley; What are the Legal Ramifications?

Many of you have heard by now that 8 people died in the Lucerne Valley, at an off road racing event, when a truck went out of control during the event. Many of you may not know that 39 other people were injured; 10 seriously.

I personally send my heartfelt condolences to all of the family and friends of the victims of this tragic accident, and wish those injured a speedy recovery.

You can see by the raw video below that the spectators were standing way too close to the racing vehicles. Many have said that the reason why so many people were killed and injured was preciously because the fans were way too close to the action.

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I have heard that there will be no charges filed against anyone having anything to do with the race, but that the national park service is going to do an investigation, since they were the ones that gave a permit for the race.

I have seen news reports that the promoters and organizers of this event put signs up stating that people should stay at least 150 feet away from the racing vehicles. I am sure they think that this warning is sufficient to protect them from being responsible for this horrible accident; I disagree.

As a Personal Injury Attorney, I deal with negligence cases in one form or another every day. The way I see it, the organizers and promoters of this event are legally responsible for the deaths of 8 spectators, and the injury of 39 others.

They owed a duty of due care, to provide a safe way for the spectators to watch the race. They should have had adequate security at the event to keep the spectators a safe distance from the race. The owed a duty of due care, to erect barriers, tape, or something so that spectators such as the ones who were killed and injured, would have known where to stand during the race.

They apparently did nothing but put signs up saying that spectators should stay 150 feet away from the action. Hell, I for one do not know how to measure 150 feet without some kind of tape measure.

Many might argue that the persons who were killed and injured assumed the risk of harm that they suffered at this event. I disagree. Spectators are not engaged in a dangerous sport, they are simply there to watch. With some minimal precautions from the organizers and promoters of this event, this tragedy could have been avoided.

If you or your family suffered through the wrongful death of a loved one at this event, or your or a loved one were injured at this event, all me now for a free consultation at 800-816-1529 x. 1. You may be entitled to substantial compensation for your loss.

By California Personal Injury Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © August 2010

6 Responses to 8 People are Killed at an Off-Road Racing Event in Lucerne Valley; What are the Legal Ramifications?
  1. Sandie {Member}
    August 17, 2010 | 8:42 pm

    Norm, I attend NASCAR events regularly. On our Season Tickets for Homestead it clearly states that the Track Owners and Nascar are not responsible for any accidents. Most likely not worth the ticket it is printed on……

    • Norman Gregory Fernandez
      August 17, 2010 | 10:23 pm

      We call that an exculpatory clause. In California that type of clause will limit liability to a certain extent, but not gross negligence which is what happened here.


  2. Rodney
    August 19, 2010 | 5:06 pm

    I think the liability of such unwanted accidents like that varies depend oh the organizer.

  3. D. Schoemaker
    August 20, 2010 | 5:34 pm

    When did everyone become the babysitter for idiots? I can’t imagine how much it would cost to have “security” along every foot of this race. Quite frankly what would happen is the event would be cancelled. Once again litigation concerns shut down an event.
    You can’t tell me that people standing that close to those racing vehicles didn’t realize it was dangerous. What about “open and obvious danger” do these folks not understand. I’m sorry, but disagree on this one.

    • Norman Gregory Fernandez
      August 20, 2010 | 7:22 pm

      D. the event got shut down by the department of the interior because the promoter failed to provide adequate safety measures.

      In this instance we are not talking about rocket science, a few cones with tape and a few security people to back everyone up. If people come to close to the track, have a guy with a flag to warn the racers to slow down. Take a look at Nascar and their measures. I know it is a different venue but it can and should have been done.


  4. Ian
    November 25, 2010 | 10:49 am

    Wrongful death is truly tragic and people who look for compensation can often find it a struggle as the first commenter mentioned that Nascar and Track Owners have a disclaimer on the season ticket.

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