Separate accidents involve young pedestrians in California lawsuits

Two lawsuits in San Mateo County are making their way through the court system but may have a long way to go before they are resolved. The claims stem from two separate motor vehicle accidents involving three young pedestrians.

A six-year-old East Palo Alto girl was walking to school one sunny fall day. While in a crosswalk - just steps away from two siblings and her mother - a driver, blinded by the sun's glare, struck and killed the little girl.

The city knew that the intersection was one of the most dangerous for pedestrians in East Palo Alto, according to a city-commissioned safety report issued the previous year. Additionally, just six months prior to the fatal accident, a car hit another young child at the same intersection resulting in severe injuries that required he be put in a body cast.

After suing the driver of the car and the city for allowing dangerous conditions at the public intersection, the young girl's family settled with the city for $125,000. Claims against the driver are still pending.

Last October, twin 6-year-old boys in Menlo Park narrowly escaped death when an elderly driver jumped a curb where they were walking, hitting the brothers and pinning them against a wall. One suffered a broken arm and the other life-threatening injuries, requiring multiple surgeries and extensive skin grafts.

The family filed a lawsuit against the 90-year-old driver, according to a Palo Alto Daily News report, requesting punishment for the driver's behavior - known as punitive damages - and compensation for their actual medical expenses.

Although the elderly man's drivers license had been temporarily suspended the previous year following another accident, the judge is barring the family from seeking punitive damages since they failed to show that the driver "knew or should have known" that it was unsafe for him to drive.

Types of compensation

When car collisions causes injuries or deaths - especially when children are involved - victims and families seek compensation for losses suffered by those involved in the accidents as well as those who suffer the loss of loved ones. Although no amount of money can compensate for damage done, a lawsuit can help with the following:

  • Current medical expenses
  • Ongoing medical care
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Treatment for emotional trauma
  • Lost and future wages

Punitive damages may also be appropriate when the injuries were the result of intentional or malicious behavior, or were in conscious disregard for others' safety.

If you or a loved one suffers an injury due to the negligence or reckless disregard of safety issues, seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about the intricacies of child injuries can help your family get through the legal process.