A significant number of wrongful death lawsuits in Hawaii stem from fatal motor vehicle accidents. Bicyclists and pedestrians may be more susceptible to fatalities as they do not have the protection offered by a three-ton vehicle. A family mourning the death of a real estate executive from Michigan was recently awarded $15,100,000 in what is believed to be our state’s largest wrongful death settlement. It is reported that a significant portion of the proceeds from the settlement will be given to a charity.
In 2015, the real estate executive was riding a bicycle and killed when he was struck by a police vehicle in Hawaii County. The real estate executive’s family filed a lawsuit, saying the officer driving the patrol car fell asleep behind the wheel after being awake for more than 26 hours. The family says Big Island officers were often required to work consecutive 8-hour shifts and that the officer responsible for the accident was working his second shift at the time of the crash.
The officer was charged in criminal court and found guilty of misdemeanor negligent homicide. The Big Island police has also gotten rid of its double-shift policy since the accident, which encouraged the settlement.
Many fatal accidents are the result of various forms of driver negligence, including drowsy driving, drunk driving and driving at an excessive rate of speed. If one loses a loved one in a fatal accident, the family may be entitled to compensation to cover medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income and loss of services. These damages can provide the family with financial support as they grieve the loss.