Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its fatal vehicle crash statistics and the news for people who use roads while on foot are not good. In 2018, the number of pedestrians killed nationwide rose by 208 to 6,283, which is an increase of 3.4%. The news closer to home was no better. 57 of those 6,283 deaths occurred in the Sacramento region (El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento and Yolo Counties,) with more than 80% of those 57 happening in Sacramento County alone. Additionally, 22 pedestrians have died in San Francisco just in the first eight months of 2019.

There can be many reasons for fatal pedestrian accidents but, many times, driver mistakes are a factor. Maybe the driver was speeding or improperly failed to yield, maybe the driver was distracted, maybe the driver was impaired or… maybe all of the above are true. Whatever the specifics, if you’ve lost a loved one due to a fatal pedestrian accident caused by driver negligence, be sure to contact an experienced San Mateo pedestrian accident attorney to find out what can be done to protect your family.

Urban areas are where the biggest increase in fatal pedestrian accidents have occurred, according to the Sacramento Bee. The report stated that fatal pedestrian accidents have surged by 69% over the last 10 years.

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Sometimes, being injured by a driver who experienced a medical emergency can be an extremely harmful thing to your injury case. Sudden and unforeseeable medical traumas that impair a driver’s ability to operate his vehicle safely are often chalked up alongside “acts of God” as things where no one is negligent, and no one is liable.

Other times, though, this medical evidence may be something that actually strengthens your case or gives you more opportunities for seeking the compensation you need. To make sure you are getting all the relevant information for your case, and putting it your maximum advantage, be sure you have an experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorney on your side. When a driver experiences a medical emergency or trauma that was unexpected and that the impaired driver couldn’t have anticipated, that is one thing, and it may hurt your case. When, however, the driver has a history of experiencing impairment-causing symptoms due to an existing (and known) medical disorder, then that is a very different circumstance entirely.

The case arising from a fatal East Bay crash that claimed the lives of 51-year-old E.P. and her 72-year-old mother was an example of the latter. The women were killed in Contra Costa County when another driver broadsided the women’s SUV at an intersection. The other driver, J.H., ran a red light and was going 62 mph in a 45-mph zone at the time of the crash. J.H. wasn’t drunk, wasn’t street racing and wasn’t texting. What he was, according to his lawyers in his criminal case, was experiencing a seizure that caused him to lose control and speed through the red light.

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When a family loses a child due to the negligence of others, there are many feelings they will feel. One of the feelings they may encounter is a desire for some good to come out of the tragedy. That may be a central motivation for pursuing a civil lawsuit. No amount of money will ever replace their lost child, but a successful jury verdict and award of damages may be just the thing to motivate those responsible to make needed changes, with those changes averting similar tragedies in the future.

Whatever needs inspire you to pursue your wrongful death or personal injury action, be sure you have legal representation from an experienced San Mateo personal injury attorney, who can help guide you to the specific goals you have.

A tragic real-life example of these concepts played out recently in Southern California. A.D. was a 14-year-old student at a San Bernardino County high school in March 2016 he was involved in his fatal accident. According to a Daily Press report, the student was crossing an intersection adjacent to his school when a Ford SUV crashed into him, killing him.

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Almost anyone who has ever lost a close loved one in an accident will very plainly state that there’s no amount of money they wouldn’t trade to have their loved one back. Nevertheless, wrongful death civil lawsuits that seek monetary compensation serve a very important purpose for the family members left behind. Your loved one was priceless, but you still have to pay many expenses – like funeral and final expense costs, along with the medical bills your deceased loved one racked up in that final accident – and those payments require money.

Additionally, there’s the income that your loved one brought in. Your loved one may have been a primary earner, or even a sole earner, for your family. The loss of his/her loss income may represent a severe and immediate financial crisis for your family. A successful wrongful death case can help you reduce that financial emergency. To make sure that you are getting the total amount of compensation that you and your family deserve, be sure to reach out to an experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorney about your case.

Wrongful death cases can be challenging ones for juries because, at some level, they require the jury to take a profound, and in some ways incalculable, loss and convert it to an exact dollar figure. That means that you may face, if you and your family take on a wrongful death case, a defense that argues that, because your loved one earned a modest income, the damages amount of his/her loss should be set at a low number. That was what one Fresno-area widow faced recently in her case, according to the Fresno Bee.

For many people who undertake civil lawsuits after they’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligence or misconduct, the lawsuit is an important means to an essential end. The deceased may have been a primary, or even sole, income provider for an entire family, and a civil judgment or settlement may be necessary to pay outstanding medical bills and final expenses, as well as to avoid a financial crisis from the loss of the deceased’s earnings.

Sometimes, though, the money from a judgment or settlement isn’t as much of a need. Whether it is due to insurance payouts or other financial reasons, the deceased’s death, while undeniably taking an incalculable emotional toll, may not have created as much of a financial hardship. Even in that latter scenario, there may be very important reasons for undertaking a civil lawsuit and seeing it through to a judgment. Whether it is seeking closure, seeing justice done or some other reason, these reasons are just as valid, require just as much diligence, and are cases just as much in need of a thoughtful and experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorney as any other.

There are cynics among us who say, “Even when they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.” Here’s a case, reported by keyt.com, that disproves that notion. The victim in the case was a popular Southern California assistant principal, who was out jogging when he was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver, who was reportedly high on Xanax and marijuana at the time.

Sometimes, the crux of your case will be focused primarily on establishing that the defendant was at fault and is liable for paying you compensation. The defense may contest liability aggressively, arguing that someone else (or no one) was to blame for the injuries. Other times, you may have evidence that makes contesting liability very difficult or nearly impossible and, in some of those cases, the defense may even admit liability.

Even when that happens, your work is not yet done, especially in a wrongful death case. Getting a truly proper judgment means putting on the evidence you need to show just how extensive the loss you suffered truly was. If you’ve lost a loved one due to a driver’s negligent conduct, you have, first and foremost, a hole in your heart and hole in your life that nothing can fill. You probably also have substantial damage to your family’s financial situation, however, especially if your deceased loved one was a primary earner. All of these damages are real and deserve to be compensated. Be sure you take on your case with the aid and representation of a skilled San Mateo wrongful death attorney to get the full award you deserve.

C.P.’s was an example of a case with a tragic loss and a very large jury verdict. As reported by the Ventura County Star, C.P. was jogging along a street in Ventura as part of his training for a marathon race. As C.P. jogged, a driver, S.C., struck him with her vehicle, killing him. The driver had consumed both Xanax and marijuana prior to getting behind the wheel, according to the report.

The headlines, regrettably, are numerous and gut-wrenching and, just as bad, they just seem to keep coming. In mid-March, a 70-year-old woman from Newark died in Fremont. The compact sedan in which she was a passenger was hit by an allegedly drunk driver behind the wheel of a minivan. Also in mid-March, a driver allegedly drove drunk, blew through a red light in Sacramento County and slammed into a compact sedan, killing a 9-year-old boy and injuring his mother. In early March, a Sacramento man received a 125-year sentence for his role in an East Bay crash that left two brothers and their respective teenage sons all dead.

These accidents are horrifying and, in many cases, the criminal legal system punishes the wrongdoers. However, what about the loved ones left behind? What about the losses that they have incurred as a result of these terrible acts? While, without question, no amount of cash settlement or damages award can ever take the place of the love and companionship of a lost family member or someone else dear to your heart, that undeniable truth in no way diminishes another unavoidable fact: the misconduct of these drivers inflicts serious harm on their victims’ families, that much of that harm is financial in nature and the families should be entitled to seek compensation in court for those losses.

There are two ways that a surviving loved one can go about pursuing a civil claim for damages. If the drunk driver was convicted of driving while intoxicated, then that criminal case history helps your civil case. You can pursue your case as a negligence per se action. That means that the defendant violated a statute or regulation, that the violation caused the harm you’ve alleged and that the harm resulted from the defendant’s particular conduct in engaging in actions that the law was designed to prevent. As you can see, if the drunk driver who killed your loved one has been convicted of both driving while intoxicated and drunk-driving-related homicide, then that criminal case gives you most all the proof you need for liability in this type of case.

Certainly, everyone hopes to have a trial that is both free from problems and one that arrives at a successful outcome. You want your trial to end with a “winning” result, one that won’t be overturned later. Unfortunately, the system is not perfect and mistakes can occur in jury trials because they depend upon imperfect human jurors. One of the essential things in managing any personal injury case, and one in which an experienced California injury attorney can help, is being sure that you respond to those unexpected “wrinkles” in the right way. If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident in Northern California, you should be sure to retain an experienced California wrongful death attorney to handle your case and provide the representation your family needs.

One recent case with such an unexpected element was brought by V.T., a widow. V.T.’s husband was killed in a tragic accident involving a tractor and a pickup truck. The husband, while trying to repair the tractor, became pinned between that vehicle and the truck. The accident killed him.

V.T. and her four daughters sued several individuals and entities for wrongful death. The case went to trial and the jury awarded a total of $670,000. However, because the jury awarded no damages to the man’s two adult daughters, the appeals court later threw out the damages award and ordered a new trial on damages. After the second trial on damages, a jury awarded a total of $9.4 million. That figure was cut in half because the first had found that the deceased man was 50% at fault for the accident.

When you experience the loss of a loved one due to an accident, it is inherently tragic and horrifying. If that accident occurred due to someone else’s negligence, there may be many things that you find yourself facing. In addition to personal and family issues, there could also be legal issues. The loss of your loved one undoubtedly left a hole in your heart, but it may also have left a hole in the financial well-being of your family. To make sure your family is protected in terms of your legal rights, be sure to retain a skilled California wrongful death attorney to handle your case.

Succeeding in a wrongful death case involves several different types of proof. For example, take the lawsuit pursued by the family of a San Francisco jogger killed by a bus. Lori was out for an early morning jog in November 2014 when, according to witness testimony, she jogged across a city intersection with the light. As she crossed, a Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District bus turned left, and the two collided. Lori died roughly an hour later.

To succeed in a wrongful death case like this, you need evidence that shows that the person or entity you sued was at fault. In Lori’s family’s case, they had eyewitness testimony that Lori jogged across the street with a white “walk” signal in her favor. That indicated that Lori had the right of way and that the driver improperly failed to yield.

While there is no amount of money that can replace the loss of the life of a parent and spouse, that truth does not change the fact that the premature death of a primary breadwinner creates a massive financial difficulty for the family he or she leaves behind. That is why it is important to protect your family through promptly pursued wrongful death litigation when such an event occurs. If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, you should reach out right away to a knowledgeable California wrongful death attorney to discuss your options and opportunities to pursue an appropriate recovery.

Successfully pursuing a wrongful death case can involve many essential steps and techniques. Take, as an example, a case recently before the Court of Appeal. 31-year-old Pablo was a migrant agricultural worker who was working at an orchard in Riverside County when his 20-foot aluminum ladder came into contact with a power line. The low-hanging, high-voltage line surged 12,000 volts of electricity through Pablo’s body, killing him.

The worker’s estate sued the electric utility for wrongful death. The estate’s case was that the high-voltage electrical wires were too low, and, if they had been at an appropriate height, the fatal accident would not have occurred. The estate’s case contended that applicable regulations required the wires to be at least 25 feet off the ground, but the wire that killed Pablo was only approximately 18’ 10” off the ground.