Suit Filed In Car Crash Victim Mix-up
August 10, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
CHANDLER, Ariz., Aug. 10 (UPI) — An Arizona couple who prepared a funeral for their daughter only to learn she had survived a serious car crash say they’ve filed a suit against the state.
Sergio and Maria Guerra of Glendale say the state Department of Public Safety failed to follow a DPS policy requiring officers to positively identify a deceased person before informing family members, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.
DPS officers had told the Guerras their daughter Abby, 20, died in a crash last July on the way back from a weekend trip to Disneyland in California.
Six days later, officers contacted the family to inform then it was a friend of Abby’s who had died in the accident and that their daughter was in critical condition at a Phoenix hospital.
A nurse at the hospital had inaccurately identified the young woman being treated at the hospital after officers had been unable to identify the other woman who died at the scene of the crash, a DPS report said.
A lawyer for the Guerras said they did not file suit to win damages, although a notice of claim sought $250,000.
“Our purpose all along has been to get policies and procedures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other family,” attorney Mick Levin said.
Last month a state law, known as “Abby’s Law,” went into effect that allows families to meet with medical examiners if there are questions about the identity of a person who has died, the Republic reported.