Jury Awards Family with $15M in Wrongful Death Suit

The parents of the two Santa Cruz sisters who died in a fiery crash in 2004 were recently awarded by an Alameda jury with $15 million for their losses caused by the negligence of one of the largest car rental companies nationwide.

Wrongful Death against rental car company.

Two sisters were killed on a head-on collision with a big-rig on Highway 101. The family of the girls won a $15 million lawsuit against the rental car company in June. (photo credit: Joe Johnston/The San Luis Obispo Tribune file)

Enterprise Rent-A-Car of San Francisco faced a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of 24-year-old Raechel and 20-year-old Jacqueline Houck who died in an accident caused by their rented vehicle’s defect that wasn’t repaired by the company.

The girls were said to be heading north along Highway 101 near Bradley from their mother’s Ventura home when they crossed the median and crashed into a big rig from the opposite direction.

After the accident, the women’s parents found out that Raechel was the fourth one to rent the 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser after the vehicle’s manufacturer issued a recall because of its steering problems. They discovered that Enterprise failed to address the recall and didn’t repair the vehicle before it was rented out.

For years, the company denied its liability in the accident pointing that Raechel’s driving may have caused it. But in May, their story changed as the company admitted their negligence which led to the tragic accident that the Houck sisters met in 2004.

Vehicle recalls should never be ignored by distributors and rental companies such as Enterprise. They should have made sure that all the cars that they are renting out is safe and keep in mind that each recall is made to keep the driver and the passenger safe from accidents that the defect of the vehicle has.

2 thoughts on “Jury Awards Family with $15M in Wrongful Death Suit

  1. My heart goes out to the Houck sisters’ parents. They have suffered long enough for losing Raechel and Jacqueline and maybe it is time to leave them in peace. As for Enterprise, I guess they have learned their lesson. Any kind of product recall should not be underestimated because people’s lives are at stake. A human life is more valuable than all the world’s riches put together.

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