Father Brings Wrongful Death Lawsuit After His Son Is Killed in Sacramento Car Accident

The following blog entry is written to illustrate how a car accident lawsuit might follow. Reviewing this kind of case should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident lawsuit and its proceedings.)


The plaintiff, a 36 year-old program Manager in the computer industry, was the father of a 7-year-old boy who died in a car accident on Aug. 11, 2006. The child’s mother, who was driving, was also killed, as was his older sister, age 9.

The plaintiff sued the mother’s estate and her widower. Against the mother’s estate, the plaintiff claimed wrongful death, and against the husband, he claimed negligent entrustment.

The plaintiff had primary custody of the child at the time of his death.

The accident occurred when the mother lost control of the Mercury Mountaineer she was driving east on IHS Highway 80 near Sacramento, CA. She and her husband, who was asleep in the passenger seat, were both wearing seatbelts. The children were in the back seat watching a DVD and were apparently not belted. The vehicle rolled over a number of times, and the children were ejected.

The plaintiff claimed that the mother was negligent in her failure to require the children to wear seatbelts.

The husband testified that when he went to sleep, the children were wearing their seatbelts and watching a DVD. According to both the surviving husband’s testimony and the plaintiff’s testimony, the mother had no history of driving irresponsibly.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

The plaintiff and the deceased driver had a history of custody disputes involving both his son and the 9-year-old girl; he had custody of both children. If the case were not settled, the defendants would have admitted liability and attempted to introduce evidence of the decedent’s prior accusations to discredit the plaintiff as a parent. In response, the plaintiff would have introduced contrary evidence. The parties could not be certain how much evidence of prior bitter disputes between the decedent and the plaintiff would have been admitted into evidence by the trial judge.

The defendant contended that the plaintiff was a poor father who took his son away from his mother, “throwing her in jail, taking custody, and leaving her penniless.” The defense claimed that the plaintiff would have had an “upHaim battle” with regards to his relationship with his son.

RESULT: Mediated Settlement

Judge mediated a settlement of $1,300,000.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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