Wrongful death case yields $150M award

The sole survivor of a family accident on a Southern California freeway has received a stunning $150 million in damages because of the fiery wreck. The 13-year-old girl, who watched as her family perished in a burning car accident, will receive the money from the wrongful death suit associated with the fatal truck wreck. It is not clear whether the girl also suffered personal injury in connection with the case.

The girl, who was 9 at the time of the accident, managed to escape the burning wreckage of the family vehicle with her then 11-year-old brother. The pair’s parents and brother were burned to death when they were trapped in a vehicle blaze. The accident occurred when the family’s SUV hit a semi-truck that was parked on the side of Interstate 210. That vehicle was parked on the side of the road without any kind of indicator or warning light, according to information from the lawsuit. Reports show that the family’s vehicle became wedged beneath the truck, preventing escape.

About $8.75 million of the jury award is dedicated for the girl’s brother, who initially escaped with her. He committed suicide shortly before the trial commenced, according to news reports. As a result, that money will be placed in a trust account for the girl until she turns 18, as she is named the boy’s successor-in-interest.

Both the truck driver and his employer, Bhandal Bros. Trucking, were found responsible for the collision. The driver is accused of pulling to the side of the road to sleep, even though warnings were posted that prohibited stopping unless an emergency occurred. The man contented that he had pulled over to take medicine for a blinding headache, which could be considered an emergency for a commercial driver.

Victims who suffer serious injury or death in commercial truck accidents deserve to receive justice in civil and criminal court. It is not clear whether the driver in this case faced criminal charges, but the victims did receive some retribution for the man’s bad decision-making, thanks to the determination of the civil jury.

Source: www.thecalifornian.com, “$150M awarded in wrongful death case involving Watsonville company” Daisy Nguyen, Oct. 29, 2013