When a wrongful death case settles, the result can help to ease the burden of costs such as medical expenses, funeral and burial services, and lost economic support. And while it can’t bring the loved one back, Berkowitz and Hanna LLC, knows that a wrongful death lawsuit can effect positive change that may save someone else’s life.  This is precisely what motivated grieving parents in Novato, California to file suit after their young daughter was killed.

In September 2012, 12-year-old Hailey Ratliff was riding her bike home from school when she was killed by a speeding vehicle.  The Ratliff family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, alleging that he was driving recklessly over the speed limit (65mph in a 45mph zone).  The lawsuit also named the city of Novato as a defendant, claiming that the city was negligent for not having deterrents such as stop signs and a crosswalk in that particular stretch of road.

The parties reached a $1.12M settlement, with the bulk ($800,000) to be paid by Tait North America—the company that employed the driver.  The plaintiffs requested that the city be required to conduct a review of the speed and pedestrian safety in that area and to put safety measures in place.  They also wanted the driver to be prosecuted.  To date, neither request has been met.

Some cases are not just about the money, confirms Berkowitz and Hanna LLC.  The opportunity to spearhead reform gives a grieving family a chance to make something positive from an otherwise extremely difficult situation.

Note: Berkowitz and Hanna LLC did not represent any of the parties in this case.

Photo by Martin Addison via Wikimedia Commons.