City to Pay $9.75M to Parents of Baby Killed in Crash Involving a Police Officer

Any time a vehicle crash takes the life of a loved one, the loss is tragic and devastating. When that life lost is your infant child, and the accident happened due to another driver’s alleged distracted driving, the pain can seem unbearable. This is a time when a skilled California wrongful death attorney can help. While you are focusing on your family and your own healing, your attorney can be focusing upon upholding your rights under the law.

A recent case from Placer County shows how a strong case can result in a substantial settlement. The case involved Steve, a father who, according to court documents, was driving along Interstate 80 northeast of Sacramento, stuck in stop-and-go traffic in the freeway’s lane furthest to the right. The traffic in the other lanes was flowing freely. Greg, who was driving his kids in the Ford Explorer provided to him by his employer, was in the right lane behind Steve. Steve slowed to a stop, but Greg never slowed down. Greg’s SUV slammed into the rear of Steve’s vehicle at roughly 60 mph. The impact pushed Steve’s vehicle into the path of a semi truck traveling at full speed in the second lane from the right. The semi hit Steve’s vehicle, and that impact killed Steve’s baby son, who was riding in the back seat in a rear-facing car seat, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Steve and his wife sued for the wrongful death of their son. The parents’ lawsuit alleged that this was a case of distracted driving. While news reports of the case did not specifically identify Greg’s misconduct as texting while driving, the parents’ lawyer did indicate after the case’s resolution that part of the settlement money the parents received would go “to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and cell phone use behind the wheel,” according to the Bee.

Since Greg was a police officer for a major Northern California city, Steve and his wife named the city government as a defendant. When an important part of your personal injury or wrongful death case rests upon asserting liability against an employer for the negligent acts of an employee, you’ll likely have multiple hurdles that you’ll need to overcome to achieve a successful result. The defense may argue that your injuries were actually your fault. That happened in this case when the police officer, in his court filings, alleged that the father “failed to exercise ordinary care for plaintiffs’ own safety,” the Bee reported.

Additionally, the defense may contend that the employee was not “on the job” at the time of the accident and that the employer was not liable for the employee’s misconduct. The city made that argument in this case, asserting that Greg was not on duty as a police officer when he crashed into Steve. The parents had proof to fight back against this argument, alleging that the Ford Explorer the city gave Greg was a city vehicle provided to the officer to be used “for work purposes.”

Eventually, all of the evidence the parents had compiled helped them achieve a settlement of the case, with the city agreeing to pay them $9.75 million. The parents’ legal team described that amount as a record for an infant death case, according to the Bee report.

In a wrongful death case, it is important to have skilled counsel who understands the process and the proof needed to achieve a successful result, whether that result is a judgment or a settlement. The Oakland wrongful death attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch have been working diligently on behalf of injured drivers and passengers and their families for many years. To learn more about how our team can help you, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-1073 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Sacramento Man Obtains $2M Judgment After Crash with Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Dec. 26, 2017

A Hollywood Pedestrian Receives a $15 Million Settlement from the City Due to Dangerous Intersection, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Oct. 25, 2017