Nick Pasquale, the UCLA walk-on receiver who died after a car accident this fall, was intoxicated at the time of the incident, authorities reported recently.
As attorneys, we’d caution against making too much of this story. The results of the toxicology tests performed on the 20-year-old Pasquale are part of the picture, but not the whole thing. This case is like many we’ve seen in that determining where responsibility for the accident (“liability,” in legal parlance) lies is likely far more complex than initial appearances would suggest.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Pasquale’s blood-alcohol content was 0.26 percent the night he was struck and killed as he walked home from a friend’s house in his hometown of San Clemente. In all states, the legal limit to drive is 0.08 and anything above that is considered intoxicated. It must also be noted that at 20, Pasquale was not yet of legal drinking age.
A spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said there was no way to determine whether Pasquale’s intoxication had anything to do with the incident. We think that is an important detail to note. Just because Pasquale was intoxicated doesn’t mean he was responsible for what happened to him — and that’s the sherriff’s department’s position, not just ours.
Authorities have not concluded their investigation into what happened here. It’s entirely possible that the driver could have been at fault — perhaps he or she was driving too fast, was texting or was simply not paying attention. In personal injury law, there is a concept called comparative negligence. To greatly simplify this concept, this is the justice system’s way of recognizing that two or more people may have contributed to an accident — but even so, one party may be more responsible than the other. Comparative negligence exists because life is very complex and it’s rare that one party is ever 100 percent responsible for any occurrence.
As personal injury attorneys, we regularly work with people who have been hurt in accidents or with families who have lost a loved one in incidents like this. We have made it our professional mission to do what we can to right these wrongs. We do this by offering thorough, dedicated client service and an unmatched mastery of the relevant law. We put these skills to work for people who have been harmed through no fault of their own and do our very best to offer what remedy can be obtained.
For more information on our firm, you are welcome to contact us.