Jury Awards $150 Million in Southern California Wrongful Death Case

A jury awarded more than $150 million in damages to a 13-year-old girl who watched her family burn to death in a fiery crash on a Southern California freeway. The Los Angeles jury found a California trucking company and one of its drivers at fault in this case.

Kylie Asam was 9-years-old when she and her 11-year-old brother, Blaine, managed to escape from the family’s wrecked SUV after it struck and was caught under a big rig parked on the shoulder of an expressway about four years ago. The two children saw their parents and older brother were burned alive after the vehicle they were trapped inside caught fire.

The verdict included $8.75 million the jury awarded to Blaine, who committed suicide before the trial began on his mother’s birthday. That money will go to Kylie as her brother’s successor-in-interest, but all of the award will be placed in trust until she is 18-years-old.

The jury found that the truck driver was at fault for parking on the side of the freeway in the darkness of early morning without leaving any lights or emergency reflectors on. The driver and his employer, Watsonville-based Bhandal Bros. Trucking, were found jointly responsible.  It was alleged that the truck driver had pulled over to sleep, ignoring written warnings that stopping your vehicle in that area was allowed only in cases of emergencies. The family was heading north to visit relatives in Oregon for a holiday on November 22, 2009, when this tragic crash took place.

What do you think about this jury award? Is it excessive? Was it too small? Feel free to comment on this blog post. For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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