We represented the father of a 17-month old baby boy who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by an auto-parts store employee. Our client sued the auto parts store and its driver for the wrongful death of his son.
The accident involved a 1994 Mazda Protégé driven by the child’s mother, and a 1997 Ford pickup truck driven by the auto-parts store’s driver. The child was properly strapped into a child safety seat in the center of the back seat. The mother was in the process of making a left-hand turn at a Phoenix intersection when she was struck on the right side by the auto-parts store truck. Our accident reconstruction specialist prepared a collision analysis report in which he concluded that the auto-parts store driver was at fault for the accident for failing to stop at a red traffic signal and traveling at a high rate of speed. According to our expert, the signal changed to red for the auto parts truck at least 87 feet from the intersection. The posted speed at the intersection was 45 miles per hour; however, our expert’s investigation revealed that the auto parts driver was traveling at least 52 miles per hour as she approached the intersection, and 45-47 mph at the time of impact. The child was crushed to death in the collision, and the mother suffered severe injuries.
The auto parts employee claimed that the light for her was yellow, and that she was not speeding, despite strong evidence to the contrary. (The employee was terminated by the auto parts store shortly after the accident.) Our pre-trial investigation revealed that the auto parts driver had caused a prior injury-accident by running a stop sign less than 12 months before this accident, and that the auto parts store had failed to comply with its own training and safety policies in hiring this employee.
The case settled prior to trial. The father recovered $300,000 from the auto parts store. The mother was represented by separate counsel (the parents were divorced), and she made a separate settlement.
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