$4,500,000: Erratic Driver Kills Young Father Blaming Seizure For the Crash

CASE DESCRIPTION: Defendant driver was observed by witnesses driving erratically, passing cars, and changing lanes at a high rate of speed.  She ultimately struck the deceased’s vehicle from the rear as she tried to pass him.  The contact caused the deceased to lose control of his vehicle and strike the traffic signal light post on the driver’s side, causing fatal injuries.  Plaintiffs, deceased’s wife and 2 minor children, brought a wrongful death claim against the Defendant driver.

RESULT: $4,500,000 – Defendant was insured by State Farm with a policy limit of $2,000,000. Defendant died several months after this incident. Matter settled at a mediation presided over by Tom Dillard of Justice West for the $2,100,000 policy limits and an additional contribution of $2,400,000 from the defendant’s estate.

PLAINTIFF’S CONTENTIONS AS TO LIABILITY: Plaintiffs contended Defendant driver was negligent in the operation of her vehicle.  Even if Defendant suffered a seizure while driving, as she later asserted, plaintiffs contended that she was negligent in her monitoring and treatment of her seizure condition.

DEFENDANT’S CONTENTIONS AS TO LIABILITY:  Defendant claimed she had a seizure (or pre-seizure episode) during these events, and therefore did not negligently operate her vehicle.

TYPE OF CASE: Wrongful Death, Automotive Negligence

PLAINTIFF’S INJURIES: Death of 34 year old male, leaving behind wife and two young sons.

DATE & LOCATION OF INCIDENT: September 16, 2004, Santiago Boulevard North, in proximity with Serrano Avenue East, County of Orange, CA

PLAINTIFF’S AGE: Deceased: 34, Plaintiffs: Adult wife, and sons of 4 years and 18 months

OCCUPATION: Director of Sales for Global Operations, Communications Specialties Incorporated

Darren O. Aitken, Esq.
For Plaintiffs – Karen D, Michael and Daniel D, by and through their Guardian ad Litem, Karen D

For Defendant – Ruth R, Estate of Ruth R