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Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

If you have been injured (or a loved one has been killed) in a vehicle accident caused by a drunk (or high) driver, there are certain legal options that are available to you in California. You can file a lawsuit against the intoxicated driver who was at fault in the accident. A successful civil court action may entitle you to receive payment from the at-fault driver herself and/or from her auto insurer. Of course, if you’ve suffered serious injuries and the at-fault driver was someone with very limited assets and only minimal insurance coverage, then those sources may not be nearly enough to cover the entirety of the harm you have suffered. You may need to do more and, depending on the facts surrounding your accident, the law may permit you to do more. Be sure to reach out an experienced San Mateo injury attorney to learn more about the options available to you.

Redwood City was the site of a recent tragic accident involving an alleged drunk driver. An 18-year-old woman allegedly was driving at “freeway speeds” along southbound Highway 101 in Redwood City her vehicle allegedly veered off the road, then “went down an embankment, flew into the air and crashed into a light pole and two trees before coming to a stop on its roof.” The accident seriously injured the driver and killed her 18-year-old passenger, Patch.com reported.

According to prosecutors, the driver had “objective symptoms of intoxication.” Additionally, the driver told police that she drank “lots of shots” at a party in San Francisco, according to the Patch report.

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In a fatal auto accident case, there are many forms of damages to which you may be entitled. Some of these, which may include emotional matters like the loss of the deceased’s “advice” or the loss of the deceased’s “companionship,” can sometimes be difficult to quantify. That’s why, if you have been harmed by an auto accident and have suffered emotionally, you need an experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorney to help you make the most persuasive and effective presentation possible to the court to get you the full amount of compensation you deserve.

The law generally permits you to recover as much the jury believes you have proven to them. As a recent case demonstrates, the amount to which you can be awarded isn’t capped by what other juries have awarded in previous similar cases.

In that recent case, E.J. was driving drunk and was being chased by CHP officers. E.J. crashed into a crowd near a taco truck, killing two. One of the fatally injured was 38-year-old C.F., a single mother of four. In court, the children sued both the driver, E.J., and the owner of the vehicle, M.E.R., for wrongful death.

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Sometimes, you are completely devoid of any fault in your auto accident. You are sitting at a traffic signal, properly stopped, when someone slams into you from behind. The reality is, though, that many accidents are not that black-and-white. We’ve all made mistakes and misjudgments behind the wheel and sometimes some of those errors played a role in our auto accidents. Fortunately, you do not have to be 100% blameless in order to recover much-needed compensation for the injuries you suffered in your auto accident. If you’re hurt in a crash, be sure to reach out to an experienced San Mateo car accident attorney to learn more about the legal options available for you.

Sometimes, errors are simple misjudgments, like braking too late on a wet road. Other times, there fall more on the side of lapses of good judgment. An apparent momentary lapse in judgment turned tragic in San Mateo earlier in January. According to KPIX, the starting point of the fatal accident was a non-injury crash along Highway 101 where a Dodge Charger struck a Toyota Yaris. (The driver of the Dodge was later arrested for suspicion of DUI.) With both cars still in the travel lanes, a woman riding in the Yaris, I.T., got out of that car to confront the Dodge’s driver, and an argument ensued. While I.T. argued with the Charger’s driver, an oncoming Toyota Camry hit and killed her. The driver of the Camry, like the driver of the Charger, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

While it might seem easy to criticize the deceased woman for stepping onto a travel lane of a highway in order to maintain an argument with a driver in a fender-bender, we should all be slow to pass judgment. Nearly all of us have been in extremely highly stressful situations on the road – including accidents. And most all of us have had moments where anger, frustration or stress led us to do things we regretted later.

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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.