From Jeremy's Desk

Coe Helps Victims of Wrongful Pedestrian Death Recover $6 Million

Our team recently helped a Hispanic family from East Texas obtain justice after they lost a husband of 30 years and a father of 8 children in a tragic motor vehicle accident.

The Deceased (A.T.) was a hard-working man born in Mexico. A.T. and his wife legally immigrated to the United States and made a better life for their family in a small East Texas town near Tyler.

At the time of the accident, A.T. was working on a crew maintaining the right of way on Interstate 35 in a small town south of the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex. In the course of his job that day, A.T. had to cross the Interstate, but was struck and killed by a different company’s vehicle.

Local law enforcement officers investigating the accident determined that A.T. was at fault and failed to find any fault on the part of the driver of the company vehicle. Many attorneys that handle personal injury cases refuse to accept cases in which law enforcement has found that the victim was at fault for the accident. Often, victims do not even seek legal help if they are told that law enforcement made a determination that they were at fault for the accident. However, most people do not realize that the determination by the investigating officer will not be admitted into evidence in a trial. A jury deciding a case will typically never even hear the opinion of the officer that investigated the accident because the officer is almost never an eyewitness.

Oftentimes, law enforcement officers also spend little time investigating pedestrian accidents like the one that killed A.T. Many times it is assumed that the pedestrian is responsible and little attention is given to details that reveal the truth about who was at fault.

Jeremy refused to accept the cop’s finding and decided to fight for the family. Jeremy and his co-counsel immediately began to perform an exhaustive independent investigation of the accident. After interviewing A.T.’s co-workers, none of whom had been interviewed by the police, Jeremy discovered that the driver of the company vehicle appeared to be speeding and struck A.T. off the roadway.

Jeremy and his co-counsel obtained a download of the data from the “black box” of the company truck which struck A.T., and the data revealed that, at the time of impact, the driver was driving more than 10 miles over the speed limit. The driver also did not brake or attempt to steer away from A.T. until less than one second before he struck and killed him. When he did finally attempt to steer away, the company driver turned the vehicle toward A.T. instead of away from him.

The fact that the company driver did not attempt to steer away until the last second and took faulty evasive action further indicated “distracted driving” which is frequently caused by texting and driving or other use of mobile phones while driving.

Additionally, after obtaining the body and dash cam videos from the police department, our team discovered that the actual point of impact was off the roadway. In other words, A.T. had made it across the roadway before he was killed … and if the driver had not taken improper action, A.T.’s death could have been avoided.

Even more shocking was the fact that further investigation revealed that the driver of the company vehicle had been convicted of the crime of intoxication assault with serious bodily injury and was on 10 years’ probation. After obtaining a copy of the terms and conditions of his probation, we found that the driver was prohibited from driving any vehicle without installation of a breathalyzer. The truck that struck and killed A.T. did not have a breathalyzer installed, so the driver was violating the conditions of his probation at the time of the accident.

Of course, the company’s failure to uncover the fact that their driver was on felony probation at the time they hired him and was required to only operate vehicles with a breathalyzer was evidence of negligent hiring and supervision on the part of the multi-million dollar company.

After building a strong case through tireless investigation, our team filed a lawsuit in Dallas County and demanded that the company and their insurers pay the limits of all available insurance policies. Faced with a mountain of evidence, the insurance companies paid the family all available proceeds totaling $6 million dollars.

No amount of money can ever replace a loving husband and devoted father. However, A.T.’s family wanted his death to send a message to companies and insurance carriers to devote more time and attention to background checks and safety. Due to the information we uncovered in our investigation, the district attorney also moved to revoke the probation of the driver of the company vehicle for violating his terms and conditions. He ultimately went to jail for his conduct that resulted in the wreck.

This case is evidence of the difference that hard work and aggressive representation can make when you and your family have been the victims of someone’s negligence.

Some information has been intentionally omitted to maintain the privacy of the family of A.T. Each case is unique, so past successes cannot be used an indicator of future results.