(Jin v Cooper, Santa Clara County Superior Court case number CV779207)
Our client, a 70 year old wife and mother exited a bus and then crossed the street when she was struck by a car, knocked to the ground and then struck by another car while she was down on the ground. The first car that knocked her down fled the scene and was never identified. Sadly, she was killed as a result, and we filed suit on behalf of her surviving husband and adult daughter against the driver of the second car that struck her. The insurance company for this driver denied liability in the case, claiming that the pedestrian was jay walking when struck by the first car, and that since it was not possible to prove which impact caused the fatal injuries, therefore our clients were not entitled to compensation.
We proved, through legal research, that when two accidents such as this occur, the legal burden of proof shifts to the driver of the second car that struck the pedestrian. As that driver could not prove she did not cause the death, she was legally liable to our clients for their wrongful death damages. The 1.95 million dollar award of the arbitrator in favor of our client’s led to a settlement for the full available liability insurance policy limits which the driver maintained. Our client’s thus were vindicated and they were able to obtain closure since they felt the law recognized that the driver was at fault for causing the death, and that they would not lose the case based on having to prove the which impact caused the fatal injuries.