A lawsuit was filed against a big-rig driver and his employer after the death of a 47-year-old cyclist. The complaint alleges that the driver, Gabriel Vera, was driving the truck negligently when he struck cyclist Lauren Perdriau Ward. According to news accounts, this is the third fatal accident Vera has been involved while working.
Interestingly, a CHP investigation into the accident concluded that Ward and not Vera, was responsible for the accident, finding that Ward made an unsafe turn into the bath of the truck.
Earlier this year, Vera and Randazzo Enterprises, his employer, paid $1.5 million to settle a different wrongful death lawsuit involving Vera. The investigation report into that accident also found that Vera was not at fault (but lawyers must have proven otherwise). Ward’s family intends to the same.
In a statement announcing the lawsuit, attorney John Feder said: “While the CHP was conducting its investigation, we brought in scientists and other experts to evaluate the circumstances surrounding Lauren’s tragic death, and the team disagrees with the CHP’s conclusion as to the cause. As a result, (her husband) Bob and the Ward children would like a jury to hear the evidence and decide.”
Many people do not realize that the written police report in an accident of any kind is hearsay. Accordingly, the investigation report by itself is not admissible to prove or disprove liability. The case must be proven independently, without regard for the police findings. And in many cases, due to time, training, and funding, the law enforcement investigators will reach erroneous conclusions.
Source: Mercury News
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