San Jose, CA — Who would have thought that a day of happiness and celebration would be marred by tragedy? This is what exactly happened to 49-year-old Hieu Thi Thu Huynh, a San Jose resident.
On the morning of May 24, 2012, Hieu Thi Thu Huynh; fresh from attending her daughter’s graduation the night before; got into the passenger’s seat of her daughter’s car. She and her daughter, Van Nguyen, were on their way to the UC Berkeley campus to pick up Van’s diploma.
Van took the same route as she did numerous times before to get to Independence; she always used Northbound Interstate 680 then takes the Exit on McKee Road.
Van was trying to get onto the off-ramp but saw a truck also heading their way; she tried to tap the brakes to create space and give way to the speeding truck. Hieu Thi Thu Huynh noticed the truck tipping over and told her daughter to veer to the left. As Van did what her mother advised her, the speeding truck lost control, crashed down, and its trailer full of broccoli crushed the passenger side of the Camry, killing Hieu Thi Thu Huynh instantly.
Based upon the statement issued by the California Highway Patrol,the speed of the big rig truck was a major factor on why it was unable to change its course and avoid the car. It was just like a scene from the movie “Final Destination.”
Van Nguyen was able to escape unscathed because of Hieu Thi Thu Huynh’s sacrifice.
Was the driver of that big rig truck aware that he was driving fast? Did it ever occur to him that there was a tendency that he might lose control of the vehicle? Was he new to the job?
In fatal accidents like these, aside from criminal charges, the truck driver may also be charged with a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death is a civil lawsuit that may arise either from an automobile or airplane accident, medical malpractice, criminal behavior, occupational hazards, and/or death during a supervised activity. The difference is that with wrongful death, the lawsuit deals more with monetary damages instead of putting the at-fault in jail.
In the case of Hieu Thi Thu Huynh, the wrongful death suit possibly will stem from a personal injury case. Wrongful deaths connected with a personal injury case usually are time-barred lawsuits depending on the state.
The wrongful death case will try to determine the family’s loss because of Hieu Thi Thu Huynh’s death and compensate it monetarily. The usual factors that determine how much money must be paid to the victim are: age, earning capacity, life expectancy, intelligence health, and the situation of those left behind by the victim.
The driver is probably very regretful right now for his negligence. But even if Hieu Thi Thu Huynh’s family is able to win their case and receive settlement and the driver sent to jail and pay the damages; it will not erase the fact that Hieu Thi Thu Huynh is already gone and gone in a tragic way. The money will never bring her back. That is why in a wrongful death case, nobody really wins because there is no amount of money that can compensate for a life.