A Los Angeles jury awarded a thirteen-year-old girl $150 million in damages on Friday based on an accident that occurred on a Southern California freeway almost four years ago. The girl watched her family members burn to death in their vehicle after they hit and got stuck under a big rig truck on the shoulder of the highway. The jury found the trucking company and one of its drivers liable in the accident and ordered them to pay the $150 million judgment. The jury deliberated for three days before announcing that Rudolph Ortiz, the driver of the truck, was negligent for parking his truck on the side of the freeway while it was dark outside without leaving on any lights or reflectors to show his presence.
Attorney Brian Brandt, the thirteen-year-old girl’s attorney, said the scope of the verdict is hard for his client to comprehend. Kylie Asam was nine at the time of the tragic accident. Her and her eleven-year-old brother, Blaine, freed themselves from the family’s crushed SUV after it got stuck under Ortiz’s truck on the side of Interstate 210. Kylie and Blaine were the only two family members to escape the vehicle. They were forced to watch their parents and older brother die in a fiery inferno.
The jury’s verdict also included $8.75 million to go to Blaine, who committed suicide before the trial began. Kylie will receive the money as her brother’s successor-in-interest, but, as Brandt explained, all of the money will be placed in a trust until Kylie turns eighteen.
LA jury awards $150M in wrongful death case, www.miamiherald.com October 29, 2013
Brandt filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of Asam, which alleged that Ortiz pulled over to the side of the road to sleep, something that was prohibited on the road. Asam alleged that Ortiz ignored the written signs along the roadway that said drivers could only pull off to the shoulder for emergencies. Asam’s father tried to reach the same shoulder that Ortiz sat on after Asam’s father hit debris on the highway and attempted to stop. Ortiz’s attorneys argued that Ortiz pulled over to take medication for a severe headache, which was an emergency. Kylie and Blaine flagged down a driver who attempted to use a fire extinguisher and some dirt to stop the fire. The jury also found Asam’s father partially negligent, but found that his conduct was not a substantial factor in his family’s deaths.
Motor vehicle accidents that occur on highways are often the most deadly. Some of the factors that contribute to these horrific accidents include the fast speed at which drivers travel on highways, the lack of daylight and other emergency lights, and debris present in the roadway. Tragic accidents like the one here affect so many lives. The friends and families of those who are killed in these types of accidents are often left with unanswered questions and great pain and frustration. The Broward automobile accident lawyers have dedicated their careers to helping victims of these accidents and their families recover. The Coral Gables truck accident attorneys know how important motor vehicle safety is to all of those operating vehicles on the roadways. If you have suffered injuries or your loved one has died as a result of a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, call (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation. Don’t hesitate, call today!
The Miami personal injury lawyers at the Friedland | Carmona handle all types of motor vehicle cases throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland | Carmona handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls and construction site injuries. Call the Miami personal injury attorneys at (305) 661-2008 for your free consultation. Call today–Let our family take care of your family!