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.
Additionally, the testimony of your opponent can sometimes help you. In this case, the bus driver testified that he took the turn at 15 mph. The employer’s policies dictated that drivers should proceed through left turns at 3-5 mph. This tended to show that the driver was speeding.
Expert evidence can also be very compelling to a jury. Lori’s family’s expert gave testimony that Lori entered the intersection first and that the bus entered the intersection at 15 mph. This testimony, if believed by the jury, would show that the bus driver both wrongfully failed to yield and was speeding.
The district’s case was founded primarily on testimony that Lori was looking down as she jogged into the intersection. By failing to look up, Lori was partly to blame for the accident, the district contended. The appeals court explained that the law does not work this way. As the court pointed out, Lori was “was crossing the street, on a green light, in the crosswalk, with the right of way,” when she and the bus collided. The law did not require Lori to keep her head up and on a swivel to look around for others who were failing to follow the rules of the road. “Every person has a right to expect that every other person will use reasonable care and will not violate the law.”
Based on this, the appeals court upheld the verdict and $4 million award of damages.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligent acts of someone else, consult the skilled San Mateo wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our attorneys have been helping clients seek the compensation they deserve for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
California Court of Appeal Upholds $4.7M Damages Award Against Utility Whose Power Line Killed an Orchard Worker, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published May 23, 2018
Southern California Jury Hands Down $26M Verdict in Case of Teen’s Wrongful Death Aboard Sightseeing Bus, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, published Jan. 4, 2017
Photo Credit: Fan Railer, [CC0 License], via Wikimedia Commons