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3rd Person Dies in Long Beach Accident near 405 Freeway


A third person has died as a result of a single vehicle accident that happened on a rain-slickened Long Beach road Saturday evening.

The crash occurred when a pickup truck, driven by Mark Matrineau, a 36-year-old Seal Beach resident, lost control of his Dodge Ram truck and hydroplaned as he was northbound on Redondo Ave. in Long Beach.

According to officers from the Long Beach Police Department, Matrineau and his passenger, Richard McAleavey, a 54-year-old Long Beach resident, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Another passenger, Terrence Harris, a 36-year-old Long Beach resident, suffered critical injuries in the car accident. Harris was transported to a local hospital. Late Sunday, the Long Beach Police Department said Harris succumbed from his injuries.

According to police, the truck was driving at an excessive speed for the rainy conditions, causing Matrineau to lose control and crash into a pillar on a 405 Freeway bridge.

Initial reports indicated McAleavey was not wearing a seatbelt. It has not been reported whether Harris was wearing a seatbelt.

An injury victim's failure to wear a seatbelt, in violation of California's seatbelt law, is often an excuse seized upon by auto insurance carriers to lessen what they must pay the injury victim or the victim's family. However, if it can be shown that injury or death would have occurred even if the victim had been wearing a seat belt, than failure to wear a seatbelt becomes irrelevant.

Matrineau's automobile insurance carrier will likely tender his liability policy limits to the families of the two passengers. Hopefully Matrineau also had an umbrella policy, because the value of the two wrongful death claims will likely exceed Matrineau's policy limits. This is where underinsured motorist coverage comes into play. If either of the two passengers had underinsured motorist coverage on their own vehicles, then their families can make an underinsured motorist claim on their own policy, provided that the decedent's underinsured motorist policy limit is greater than Matrineau's policy limit. If Matrineau's liability policy limit is equal to or greater than his passengers' underinsured motorist policy limits, then the passengers' families cannot make an underinsured motorist claim.

At our Long Beach personal injury law firm, we strongly recommend that every driver carry uninsured (which is the same as underinsured) motorist insurance, and plenty of it. At a minimum, we recommend that everyone carry uninsured motorist coverage of 100/300: $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident. Better still: 250/500. Even though California law requires that all drivers carry liability coverage, not everyone does. If you get hit by an uninsured driver, you are out of luck unless you have uninsured motorist coverage.

Attorneys Daniel McGee and Catherine Lerer are a husband and wife team of accident attorneys with over 37 years of combined experience handling serious injury and wrongful death cases. We handle exclusively injury accidents, allowing us to be experts in our field. Our lawyers are available to provide a free consultation 24/7.