What damages are recoverable in a wrongful death case? A head-on collision on Highway 41 near Nevada Avenue killed a 26-year-old Lemoore man driving a Toyota Corolla as well as another man driving a 1998 Saturn according to a recent news report in The Hanford-Sentinel.
The accident happened near Lemoore as the Saturn driver who was northbound on the two-lane State Route 41, tried to speed past a 2007 Toyota by getting into the southbound lane. The Saturn then hit the southbound Corolla. Edward Sutton, the driver of the northbound 2007 Toyota anticipated the collision and swerved to the right as the Saturn tried to pass him, said official reports. The Saturn driver, who was reportedly driving at a speed of 90-95 miles an hour, swerved to the right too but couldn’t avoid the southbound Corolla. Sutton’s passenger Kristin Holly, 37, suffered minor injuries while Sutton and his remaining two other passengers, Nicholas Stoll, 14, and Andrew Stoll, 11, were not injured.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the Lemoore man, who has not been identified. As for the driver of the Saturn, there can be no excuse for going that fast on a two-lane road or for making a reckless pass and for putting his life and the lives of other motorists in danger. It will be interesting to see if the traffic collision investigation determines what was going on with the Saturn driver to cause him to drive so recklessly.
The Lemoore man’s family has substantial rights to monetary compensation from the estate of the Saturn’s driver. Each heir of the Corolla’s driver is entitled to rightful compensation for the loss they individually suffered. Further, the financial support each heir would or might have received from the deceased as well as reasonable compensation for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, affection, guidance, society, solace, moral support, and any loss of the enjoyment of physical relations is to be considered.
In addition the family is entitled to an amount that will compensate them for whatever reasonable expenses were paid out or incurred for funeral and memorial services as well as burial or disposition of the body expenses.
If adequate compensation does not exist through the Saturn driver’s insurance and estate then the claimants may look to insurance coverage through the uninsured and under insured motorist provisions of applicable auto insurance policies. These policy provisions and deciding who is covered under what policies are tricky. Be sure to consult a personal injury attorney who is an expert in damages recovery and insurance policy applicability.