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Sometimes, It Truly Isn’t About the Money: The Driving Forces Behind One California Wrongful Death Lawsuit

For many people who undertake civil lawsuits after they’ve lost a loved one due to another’s negligence or misconduct, the lawsuit is an important means to an essential end. The deceased may have been a primary, or even sole, income provider for an entire family, and a civil judgment or settlement may be necessary to pay outstanding medical bills and final expenses, as well as to avoid a financial crisis from the loss of the deceased’s earnings.

Sometimes, though, the money from a judgment or settlement isn’t as much of a need. Whether it is due to insurance payouts or other financial reasons, the deceased’s death, while undeniably taking an incalculable emotional toll, may not have created as much of a financial hardship. Even in that latter scenario, there may be very important reasons for undertaking a civil lawsuit and seeing it through to a judgment. Whether it is seeking closure, seeing justice done or some other reason, these reasons are just as valid, require just as much diligence, and are cases just as much in need of a thoughtful and experienced San Mateo wrongful death attorney as any other.

There are cynics among us who say, “Even when they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.” Here’s a case, reported by, that disproves that notion. The victim in the case was a popular Southern California assistant principal, who was out jogging when he was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver, who was reportedly high on Xanax and marijuana at the time.

The intoxicated driver asserted that, at the time of the accident, she was on the run from an abusive partner. The principal’s wife and other family members, in fact, passionately lobbied the judge to hand down the lightest possible sentence to the driver in her criminal trial. Despite a manslaughter charge, the driver served only 18 months in prison, according to the report.

After the driver’s release, the principal’s family became concerned about the driver’s truthfulness regarding any domestic abuse. To get to the bottom of it, the principal’s widow sued the driver for wrongful death. As part of the civil case, the widow’s attorney was able to request and obtain many types of information, including transcripts of the driver’s phone calls while in prison. The truth was a horrible one: the driver and a friend had been partying with drugs that night and had been returning from a friend’s house when the crash happened. There was no abuse that caused her to get behind the wheel that night, KEYT reported.

A verdict obtained in order to ‘bring out the truth’

The widow and her legal team pursued the case to a verdict. The jury awarded the widow $20 million in damages. According to the article, the family plainly understood that the chances of ever receiving the money from the driver were low. The lawsuit, and the verdict, weren’t about that. They were about “doing right by” their deceased loved one and “bringing out the truth,” according to the report. The principal’s daughter told KEYT that she “didn’t care much about the money,” but rather desired that the driver “understand what she took and how that affects us.”

Whatever your goals are in a civil lawsuit, whether or not they focus upon financial matters, your case needs a thoughtful and skillful attorney who can help guide you to the best path to achieve your objectives. Reach out to the skilled San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, who have been providing knowledgeable representation for many years for people hurt in vehicle accidents. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

Pedestrian AccidentandWrongful Death

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    I retained Ilya Frangos of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos on a business litigation matter involving a frivolous lawsuit filed in federal court. Ilya guided me through the case and helped make sure that I understood the process… He always took the time to answer all my questions and helped put my mind at ease. I would highly recommend him and this firm!


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