Update: Cristal Ortiz Killed in Austin, TX, Hit-and-run Accident
Austin, TX -- January 7, 2017, Cristal Lopez was killed, others injured after an accident with Edgar Camateco-Mercado, allegedly intoxicated at the time.
The Austin Police Department responded to a multi-vehicle accident scene near the intersection of Giles Lane and Highway 290 at around 9:05 p.m.
According to their reports, Camateco-Mercado was driving a Chevy Tahoe that witnesses say had no headlights westbound on the service road. He allegedly ran a flashing red light, crashing into the side of a Dodge Journey. His vehicle then spun around and hit a Toyota Camry.
As a result of the collision, four people sustained serious injuries, one of which was 21-year-old Lopez, listed as critical. They were taken to University Medical Center-Brackenridge. Reports say Lopez died on January 10 due to her injuries.
Authorities allege that Camateco-Mercado attempted to flee the scene of the accident by hiding in a nearby dumpster. Police located him and placed him under arrest. Reports claim that alcohol was found in his vehicle, and he showed signs of intoxication.
Currently, Camateco-Mercado faces charges, among others, of intoxication assault and possession of a controlled substance. No further details are available.
Map of the Area
Reports definitely seem to place a lot of blame on the alleged drunk driver in this particular accident. However, I don't have all of the details surrounding this accident outside of early news reports, and I'm not a criminal trial jury. Whether or not the accused is guilty isn't for me to say. What I will say is that there are a lot of accidents like this one that cause a lot of problems for those affected. Not only do the damages sustained cause issues, but the compensation process often takes people by surprise as well.
Many people will see an accident like this, where the at-fault driver is charged with a crime, and assume that the victims will automatically be compensated. This actually isn't the case. Just like criminal charges, people are fully entitled to defend themselves against accusations of liability. This is generally a good thing, since it protects innocent people from frivolous lawsuits that lack factual support. However, it can create issues for legitimate claims when an at-fault driver or their insurance company try to shift blame and avoid liability.
As a result, victims of car accidents who think they will be compensated simply because the other driver was charged with a crime find themselves getting a lot less than they deserve--sometimes nothing at all. No matter what the accident and no matter how straight-forward things appear, it still takes an experienced professional to present tangible evidence to the insurance company. By showing insurers undeniable evidence, they can be convinced to skip the runaround and give victims the compensation they deserve.
--Grossman Law Offices