In 2010, a car driven by a Los Angeles county deputy sheriff struck and killed a man standing on the side of a freeway after a minor collision. In the first trial of the case, the jury returned a verdict of $280,500 as damages for the death of the girl’s father. The girl’s attorneys appealed the verdict and secured an order for a new trial.
The fatal accident occurred on February 28, 2010 in the southbound lane of the Harbor Freeway. Vehicles driven by the decedent and another man struck each other in a minor collision. The two men left their vehicles and were standing on the side of the freeway awaiting the arrival of the police. The deputy sheriff, driving an unmarked car on his way to work (he was not responding to the accident), struck the decedent’s car and then the decedent, killing him. Plaintiff’s attorneys alleged that the deputy was travelling 75 miles per hour, but the county denied this claim.
On appeal, the issue was whether the court should have admitted evidence of the decedent’s use of marijuana for medical purposes. The appellate court ruled that the admission of this evidence was erroneous and sent the case back for a new trial. At the second trial, the jury deliberated for 1-1/2 days before returning a verdict of $1.2 million in the girl’s favor.
The seven-year-old girl was able to recover damages because her father’s death was judged by the jury to be “wrongful”, that is, he was killed by the wrongful – in this case, negligent – act of another person. She recovered damages for the loss of companionship of her father. Anyone who has lost a loved one in a traffic accident or under other circumstances that may involve the wrongful act or negligence of another person may wish to consult a personal injury attorney for an evaluation of the facts of the case an estimate of the probability of recovering damages.
Source: My New LA, “$1.2M verdict makes her weep: high school sweetie killed by deputy’s car,” Ken Stone, July 24, 2015