$150 Million for 13-Year-Old Who Lost Family in Fiery Car Accident

The most tragic victims of many car accidents are survivors who have lost a loved one. These experiences can be especially harrowing for those who had to watch a sibling, parent, spouse, or child, suffer in an accident. In a case that has made national headlines, a 13-year old girl was awarded $150 million after she watched her family burn to death in a fiery accident on a California freeway.


Wrongful death claims are legal actions taken by a spouse, parent, or child who has lost a loved one. An experienced advocate can investigate any death and identify the individuals or entities responsible. Our Boston wrongful death attorneys are experienced in complex claims and are dedicated to maximizing compensation for our clients. We understand the gravity of any loss and are committed to protecting the rights and interests of victims.

After an accident, it important to work with an independent investigator who can help determine the cause. In this case, a 9-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother climbed from their family’s SUV after it collided with a truck illegally parked on the shoulder. The two children escaped, but could not rescue their parents who were trapped in the vehicle when it burst into flames. Horrifically, the children watched as their parents were burned alive.

The $150 million-dollar verdict will all go to the 13-year-old girl, whose brother committed suicide on the day before the trial began. $8.75 million was also awarded to him, but will now go to the girl who is the brother’s succession. According to the young girl’ lawyer, the money will be placed in a trust until she is 18 years old.

Accident reports indicated that the driver parked his truck on the side of the road without leaving on any lights or emergency reflectors. The jury deliberated for several days before finding that the truck driver was negligent for parking his truck on the side of the freeway. The trucking company was also held jointly liable for the accident.

The wrongful death claim alleged that the driver pulled over to sleep and ignored warnings that trucks should not stop unless there is an emergency. The driver of the
SUV, the plaintiff’s father tried to use the shoulder when he struck debris on the freeway in November of 2009.

The defense countered that the driver was stopping to take medication for a severe headache and argued that it measured up to an emergency. Defense lawyers also argued that the driver broke no laws because he was parked on the dirt next to the shoulder. While the jury found that the deceased driver was also negligent, his actions were not so substantial that they resulted in death.

While no compensation can make up for this young girl’s loss of her parents and her brother, pursuing financial recovery after an accident ensures that responsible defendants are held accountable. When you or someone you love is in an accident, remember that you do have rights and the right to collect compensation for your losses.

If you lost a loved one in an accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (617) 777-7777.

More Blog Entries:
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Bounce House Parties a Big Hit, But Present a Significant Danger of Injury
, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, December 6, 2012

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