Trucker’s Improper Interstate Stop Results in Fiery Crash, $150M Wrongful Death Judgment

mack-truckA trucker’s ill-advised decision to stop along the side of Interstate 210 in southern California precipitated a gruesome crash in which two children watched their parents and a sibling burn to death four years ago. This month a Los Angeles County jury issued a judgment awarding the youngest child more than $150 million in damages as a result of the fatal accident.

Kylie Asam was travelling with parents and two brothers when her father’s SUV allegedly hit debris in the highway and the father attempted to steer the vehicle to the shoulder of the road. Unfortunately, the SUV hit Rudolph Ortiz’s truck, which was parked along the side of the road and enshrouded in darkness. Asam and one brother escaped the SUV, but the eldest brother and the parents were still inside when flames consumed the SUV, burning all three to death. The surviving brother, Blaine Asam, later committed suicide.

The girl’s negligence suit alleged that the trucker acted improperly by pulling over along the side of the freeway to sleep, even though signs along the road stated that stopping was permissible on in cases of emergencies. The trucker argued that he did experience an emergency, stopping to take medication for a severe headache. The trucker also contended that the fiery wreck was the fault of the father, for failing to control his SUV. Attorneys for the girl, however, argued that a dent in one of the SUV’s rims proved their assertion that the father only drove to the side of the road after hitting something in the traveling lane.

The jury deliberated for three days before returning its nine-figure verdict, according to Fox News. The judgment found Ortiz jointly liable along with his employer, Bhandal Bros. Trucking, which is based in Santa Cruz County. The $150,000,000+ verdict included $8,750,000 that the jury awarded the brother who survived the wreck but later took his own life.

In siding with the girl, the jury determined that the trucker was negligent when he parked along the side of the road in the early-morning darkness with no lights or emergency reflectors to warn others of his vehicle’s presence there. The jury also concluded that the father was negligent, as well, but that his negligence did not contribute to the three deaths.

Whenever an accident tragically results in deaths, there are many victims. In addition to those whose lives are unfairly cut short, there are the loved ones of those people, who may live with a lifetime of emotional and financial harm caused by someone else’s negligence. Placing numerical value on the worth of these things is often difficult, but also necessary to help these loved ones carry forward with their lives. If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of someone’s negligence, contact Oakland personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch can provide you with thoughtful, dependable and aggressive representation in your injury case. Contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-1073 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.

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