On a chilly fall afternoon in Madera, CA, a mom was pushing a baby stroller containing her two young children (ages 2 and 1 month) and walking with her four year old daughter and six year old son on their daily walk home from the six year old’s school. The primarily residential area was quiet as usual and the young family talked as they proceeded on their daily journey, with the six year old leading the way, as he did most of the time.
The family had to cross two intersections to get home from school. As they crossed the first street, the family looked both ways and no cars could be seen coming from any direction and they started across the 60 foot wide street. As the family was more than half way across the intersection, a car came speeding into the intersection heading right toward the parade of children. The car slammed on its brakes and swerved to the right to try and avoid hitting the family, and almost succeeded. The car missed the mom, the baby stroller and the young girl, but the six year old leading the way was struck by the car and thrown more than fifty feet in the air.
The family had no chance to get out of the way of the speeding car. When the car entered the intersection, it was less than 50 feet from the family. The cars brakes engaged about 40 feet before hitting the boy, and after hitting the boy the car traveled another 25 feet and struck a parked pickup truck, pushing the pickup over 50 feet from its parked position next to the curb finally coming to a stop almost 100 feet after striking the boy. The boy was less than 8 feet from the sidewalk, having crossed about 52 feet of the street before being hit by the defendant.
The boy sustained very serious physical injuries to the brain and his leg and had to endure multiple surgeries. He incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. The mom was emotionally distraught after witnessing her only son get hit, and believing it was his dead body she was seeing fly threw the air.
At the scene of the accident, the police blamed the boy and the mom. The officer wrote in his official report that the boy was partially at fault because a pedestrian may not "suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard." The report also claimed an unidentified vehicle was partially at fault for pulling out in front of the car that struck the boy. There was no such vehicle present when the accident occurred, according to the mom.
When the car’s insurance company became involved and a demand was made on behalf of the seriously injured boy and his mom and sister, they disputed liability in the case. Because the boy was so seriously injured, they offered him the policy limits, but, they made NO OFFER to the mother of boy who suffered severe emotional distress as a result of witnessing her son be struck. Later the insurance company offered her $4,000.00 to settle her case.
The Dunnion Law Firm did not stand for that mistreatment of a distraught mother. Suit was filed and the insurance company was forced to the table by its own attorney and the mother was finally given a $70,000.00 settlement in addition to the policy limit settlement of her son.