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 man’s wife and young daughter sued the driver for wrongful death. In the case, the driver did not contest liability. Even if she had, it would have been very likely that the jogger’s family would have had ample evidence to obtain a judgment of liability against S.C. The driver pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter in a criminal case that was concluded before the jogger’s family’s civil lawsuit went to trial. A criminal conviction involving the same set of events as your civil case can possibly be very helpful to your case. In a civil negligence case, you have to prove that the defendant failed to operate her vehicle in a safe way and that failure caused your injuries. If you have an existing conviction of DUI homicide on your side, then you already have very strong proof that the defendant did both of those things.
Even after the defendant admits liability, you still have to prove to the jury just how massive your damages were. In the jogger’s family’s case, they had evidence that the jogger was a successful professional, serving as the assistant principal for a local public school for technology and the arts. In spite of that substantial income C.P. earned and would have continued to make, the pain and anguish of losing C.P.’s love and companionship was undoubtedly the family’s primary concern, and it served as the central source of the family’s claim for damages.
Proving these emotional damages can be challenging, since the harm is, though real, subjective. For C.P.’s family, they had a 43-year-old wife who had lost the love, comfort and care of her spouse and life partner. For the daughter, she would grow up through most of her formative years without knowing the love, protection and care of her father. The family had proof of all of these things and, at the trial’s end, the jury awarded $2 million in economic damages, $17 million in non-economic damages and nearly $1 million in punitive damages.
Any wrongful death matter is extraordinarily painful for the loved ones the deceased left behind. In the midst of that emotional pain, there is still the issue of legal matters. If you are in that position, leave the legal matters to the experienced pros. The knowledgeable and thoughtful San Mateo wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can help you as you navigate the legal system during this emotionally trying time. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.