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.
According the boy’s family’s lawsuit, the town was partly to blame for the fatality. The lawsuit contended that the town had known about the dangerous intersection next to the high school for years, but had done nothing to make any changes.
The family’s lawyer indicated that the town was on notice about the problem going back at least as far as 2002. At that time, the high school’s principal wrote letter asking for a reduction in the speed limit in that area. The speed limit was 55 at the time. Although a traffic study was performed, the town made no changes, according to the Daily Press report. According to the family’s lawyer, the town should have created a “school” warning sign and reduced the speed in that stretch to 25 mph. In 2003 and again in 2004, students were struck by early morning drivers in the same area as A.D.’s death, but still, no changes took place according to the report.
This September, at the trial’s end, the jury found for the plaintiffs, concluding that the town either knew or should have known about the intersection’s dangerousness but negligently failed to take any action to address the hazard. Based on that negligence by the town, the jury awarded the family $60 million.
A jury verdict as a mechanism for positive change
Sometimes, certain kinds of lawsuits may permit a plaintiff to obtain a court order in which the judge compels a defendant to take certain actions (or refrain from doing certain things.) In many injury actions, though, that kind of “relief” isn’t available – the court can only award you money damages. Nevertheless, money damages may still serve an important role in getting you to your goal of effecting change. As the family’s lawyer told the Daily Press, “we can’t compel them to change” the intersection, but “I would think that now this verdict would cause them to reconsider” their approach to the speed limits in that area.
In a personal injury or wrongful death action, you may have many different goals. You may need to obtain money to meet certain financial obligations. You may want to expose those responsible and hold them accountable in a very public way, or you may be seeking to use the civil justice system as a means to affect positive change to help or protect others. Whatever your motivations, rely on the thoughtful and skillful San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos. Our smart, sensitive and determined attorneys have been helping pedestrian accident victims and others 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.