Peter Thompson
Peter Thompson

Example of a Wrongful Death Case We Handled

We were initially contacted by the wife of a gentleman who was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after the accident occurred. As is frequently the case in wrongful death cases, the driver who caused the accident took advantage of the fact that the motorcyclist was not able to give his side of the story about how the accident happened, and claimed that our client's husband was speeding immediately prior the accident. The defendant driver further claimed that when he started to make a left turn onto a side street in front of our client's husband's motorcycle, there was sufficient room for him to have passed safely. Fortunately our client contacted our office immediately after the accident, enabling our team of attorneys, paralegals, and our private investigator to begin investigating whether speed was, in fact, a factor in causing the collision. The State's accident reconstruction was inconclusive, due in large part to an incorrect application of a formula used to determine the speed of a vehicle based on skid and drag marks left on the highway. We hired our own accident reconstructionist to assess the State investigator's report, findings, and conclusion. Our expert immediately noticed that the State's expert used the wrong formula and recalculated using the correct one. This recalculation resulted in very different findings and demonstrated that, while our client was traveling slightly faster than the speed limit, the defendant driver's claim that our client's husband was a significant distance from the point where the defendant driver began his turn was false. This evidence was particularly helpful because the defendant driver's insurance company felt very confident that without any witnesses other than the defendant driver, they would be able to establish that our client's husband was primarily, if not exclusively, at fault for the accident.

Our expert prepared an animated simulation of the accident using measurements from the accident scene, as well as the measurements taken by the State investigator's report. While we took our own measurements (which were almost identical to the State investigator's measurements), we believed that it would be better to use the State's data because it would be more difficult for the defense to claim that the information was inaccurate. The simulation demonstrated clearly just how easy it would have been for the defendant driver to see our client's husband traveling on the motorcycle at the point when he first started to make his turn. It also strongly suggested that the defendant driver was not paying attention to vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, despite his claim to the contrary.

In another case very similar to this one, we took a video from a vehicle approaching the place where the accident occurred traveling in the same direction as the defendant driver and had a person operate a motorcycle drive from the other direction. After many, many tries, we were able to get the vehicles nearly the exact locations where the defendant driver and our client were when the defendant driver started to make his turn. In both that case, and the case example above, the use of animated and/or video demonstrative evidence was critical to getting the cases resolved fairly and reasonably for our clients.