Back in December 2013, Sara Paynter and Robert Delgadillo were riding in their Ford Explorer with some very exciting news-- they had just gotten engaged and were en route to share the news with their parents. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when a deputy police car driving at 80+ miles struck their car, ejecting the couple from their seats and killing them. The two other passengers in their car as well as the deputy survived their injuries.
The Los Angeles Times reports on the fatal car accident: "Investigators from the California Highways Patrol determined that the deputy's speed was the primary cause of the crash.The collision would not have occurred if the deputy had obeyed the posted speed limit, the CHP found, according to the county report. The deputy was responding to request for assistance at the scene of a fight in progress but failed to turn his lights or siren on, according to records. As he was driving the dispatcher clarified that the request was not an emergency."
In addition to finding the deputy at fault, the county also found the dispatcher's initial classification of the need as an emergency rather than a non-emergency as being partially responsible for the deadly crash.
In response to these findings, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has agreed to pay the two families $4 Million as a settleent for their wrongful death lawsuit. Los Angeles is having an expensive year paying for it's mistakes, take a look at some of our recent blog posts covering the County:
- LA to pay $6.5 Million for cyclist injured by dangerous pothole
- LA County to pay $1.5 Million in fatal police shooting
- $2.6 Million payout by LA County for deadly pedestrian accident
And the list goes on. When you are suing a city versus an individual defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, things are both different and the same. Some of the key differences include a shorter statute of limitations (amount of time you have to file a lawsuit) and different procedural and filing process (usually much more paperwork and other requirements). One thing that remains largely the same is the legal proof that there was negligence or criminal behavior on the part of the city. In any wrongful death case, we are seeking to successfully show how the defendants conduct was the reason or part of the reason for the avoidable death. In the most recent wrongful death settlement against the city, the proof was very straightforward.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of the actions of a city of state employee, do not hesitate to get in touch with Walch Law immediately. We have handled thousands of cases like this over the years and are here to help get you the results you deserve. We look forward to hearing from you.