PLG Handles Wrongful Death Car Accident Case for Mother Killed on Bike
The accident attorneys at the Piccuta Law Group were recently hired to handle a wrongful death case. The case involves a mother who was struck by a drunk driver while riding her bicycle. The firm represents her three surviving children. This includes her 18-year-old daughter and two minor children.
The guardians of the children selected the firm’s accident attorneys because of our experience handling wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. They also selected our firm because of our track record of prevailing in high stakes trials and obtaining large verdicts on contested cases. The firm is currently handling three wrongful death cases. Two in California and one in Arizona.
Details About the Wrongful Death Case
The children’s mother was living in Modesto, California on the date of the accident. She had recently moved to California from out of state. Her and a few friends had ridden bikes to a nearby park earlier in the day. As they were riding their bikes home, a driver crashed into the bicycle being ridden by the mother. She was launched from the bicycle and suffered fatal injuries.
Details About the Car Versus Bicycle Crash
The crash occurred on March 13, 2022 in Modesto, California. The mother was riding her bicycle on Yellowstone Avenue headed North. Yellowstone Avenue forms a three-way intersection with Woodland Avenue. Woodland Avenue runs East to West.
The intersection is controlled by a stop sign on Yellowstone Avenue. There is no stop signs on Woodland Avenue. Those travelling on Woodland Avenue have the right of way.
After coming to a complete stop, the mother turned right onto Woodland Avenue. With moments of making that turn, she was struck by a 2017 Acura heading in the other direction. The Acura was travelling at a high rate of speed and the mother was ejected off her bicycle and over the Acura. The mother landed on the street and was killed as a result of the crash.
The posted speed limit on Woodland Avenue was 30 miles per hour. Police noted damage to the front bumper, hood and windshield of the Acura. The bicycle had damage consistent with a major impact. Police noted physical evidence at the scene. This included gouges, clothing and vehicle debris on the road and car.
Details About the Wrongful Death Investigation
The investigating officers obtained video footage from houses and businesses near the crash. This included no less than three separate surveillance systems. These surveillance systems picked up both the mother and the driver of the Acura at different points in their travels. These surveillance videos also included time stamps showing when both were at certain locations.
The police obtained a warrant to obtain information from the Acura’s internal infotainment systems. These systems showed the speeds that the Acura was travelling prior to crashing into the mother’s bicycle. Specifically, the police documented the Acura’s speed from the beginning of the driver’s trip to the point of the impact.
The police were able to establish that the driver was travelling on surface streets and through residential neighborhoods during her trip. The evidence showed that the driver was travelling at nearly twice the posted speed limit during her entire trip. In fact, the evidence showed that she travelled as fast as 69.9 miles per hour on Woodland Avenue. This was 39.9 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. The investigation also showed that she was travelling 65 miles per hour just before the crash. This was 35 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
Details About the Intoxicated Driver who Caused the Wrongful Death
At the scene, the driver of the Acura told police that she looked down to adjust her radio just prior to the impact. The driver claimed that the sun was setting which caused an obstruction to her vision. In response to the emergency call, another officer drove the route just prior to the impact and documented the sun was not an obstruction.
Police were able to smell alcohol on the driver during their questioning. They learned that she had drank champagne at a local business prior to the crash and had also taken prescription medication. The police administered standardized field sobriety tests and she performed consistent with that of an intoxicated person.
She was arrested for driving under the influence. A warrant was obtained to draw her blood. Her blood was drawn and sent to a toxicology laboratory. She was later charged with a violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23153(a) – Driving Under the Influence and Causing Injury to Another and California Penal Code Section 191.5(a) – Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated.
Wrongful Death Damages Sought to be Recovered
Our wrongful death attorneys are seeking a recovery for the children of the deceased mother. No child should have to lose a parent. This is especially true when that loss is caused by negligent, reckless or criminal conduct.
The greater the person’s loss, the more they are entitled to.
In this case, the evidence shows that the driver was breaking the law and putting innocent lives at risk. Not only will she have to answer for her wrongdoing criminally, but she will have to answer civilly as well. This includes having to pay damages to the minor children for the loss of their mother and all her corresponding support and love.
What Wrongful Death Damages Can Be Recovered Under California Law
Under California law, certain individuals can recover for the death of a loved one. This includes a surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, stepchildren and parents. Other family members, like cousins, nephews, brothers and sisters, may not. This is established by statute and case law.
In sum, the individuals must have a recognized family relationship where it is expected that the loss of the deceased will affect them greatly. Although this argument could be made for brothers and sisters. It is not yet recognized. The damages that may be recovered include the loss of:
- Household services
- Future earnings
- Moral support
- Financial support
The greater the person’s loss, the more they are entitled to. Minor children, or parents for whom the deceased was the caretaker, are typically entitled to recover the most. This is compared to adult children or parents who did not have a close or dependent relationship with the deceased. Click here to learn more about wrongful death cases in California.
Other items may be recovered by the estate of the deceased in a survival action. However, that is different than a wrongful death claim. Click here to read more about what may be recovered in a survival action.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney from the Piccuta Law Group
If you lost a loved one, due to the wrongful acts of another, contact the Piccuta Law Group today. Our attorneys have experience handling wrongful death cases. We understand how these losses can devastate families both emotionally and financially. We are prepared to fight for you and deliver justice for the loss of your loved one.
A consultation is free and we only charge a fee if we obtain a recovery. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney about your case.
About the author: The content on this page was written by California personal injury attorney and civil rights lawyer Charles “Tony” Piccuta. Piccuta graduated with honors from Indiana University-Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana (Previously ranked Top 35 US News & World Report). Piccuta took and passed the State bars of Arizona, California, Illinois and Nevada (all on the first try). He actively practices throughout California and Arizona. He is a winning trial attorney that regularly handles serious personal injury cases and civil rights lawsuits. He has obtained six and seven figure verdicts in both state and federal court. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers for six years straight. He is AV Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California, American Association for Justice, National Police Accountability Project, Arizona Association of Justice, and many local county and City bar associations.
Disclaimer: The information on this web site is attorney advertising and is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice. Reading and relying upon the content on this page does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact our law firm for a free consultation and to discuss your specific case and issues.