Losing a child can be one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person. Losing two children is almost unimaginable. One Louisiana mother and father know exactly how that feels. Two years ago, their two young children were fishing with their father and two other adults at a popular fishing spot when an SUV ran off the road, slid down an embankment and hit them. While the three adults survived, the two children were pronounced dead at the scene.
The police report indicated that the driver of the SUV was trying to avoid an oncoming car at the time of the crash and that she was not on her phone. She was charged with a misdemeanor traffic offense for careless driving, but a grand jury declined to indict her on two counts of negligent homicide.
The children’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against the state for poor design and maintenance of the road, as well as the driver of the SUV. The jury awarded the parents $4.4 million in damages and found the state 60 percent at fault and the SUV driver 40 percent at fault. Payment of the award will be split between the state and the SUV driver’s insurance company. Since it is unlikely the driver’s policy limits are sufficient to pay 40 percent of the award, the state will likely pay most of the award under the doctrine of joint and several liability. The jury found that the children’s father was not responsible for his children’s deaths and made sure that some of the damages covered the father’s injuries.
Nothing can ever bring back those that have passed away, but the damages awarded in a wrongful death suit can help the family recover financially after a fatal accident. When a family does not have to worry about paying the bills, they have more time to focus on their physical and emotional recovery.
Source: The Times-Picayune, “After siblings killed, parents win $4.4 M wrongful death suit against Louisiana, SUV driver,” Emily Lane, Nov. 10, 2016