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Santa Barbara Family Can’t Sue Employer in Wrongful Death Suit

By Renee Nordstrand on November 13, 2012

A Santa Barbara Superior Court judge has ruled that the family of a teenager who was struck and killed on Milpas Street cannot bring a wrongful death allegation against the employer of the 19-year-old who was driving the flatbed truck that struck him.

The 15-year-old San Marcos High School student was crossing in the crosswalk at Ortega and Milpas on Oct. 7, 2011 when the truck, which was heading southbound on Milpas, struck him. The driver allegedly had been collecting shopping carts in the local area and was speeding when the accident occurred. The teen was taken to Cottage Hospital, but later died of his injuries.

The parents sued the driver of the truck for wrongful death and negligence in the California pedestrian accident. The family was seeking compensation for funeral expenses, medical costs, loss of use of property, and loss of earning capacity. The lawsuit also stated that they had “been deprived of love, companionship, affection, society, comfort, protection, services and support of their son.”

The suit also contended that the driver, who had been driving his father’s truck, had also been operating the vehicle as part of his job, and had named the father, the California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation, Inc. and Scolari’s Food & Drug Company as defendants.

The incident spurred an outcry from local residents who claimed the Milpas traffic corridor lacked proper safety controls. Months later, during a crosswalk sting at the same intersection where the teen was hit, Santa Barbara police cited 28 drivers for not stopping for a decoy pedestrian in the crosswalk.

There is no word as to why the judge denied the plaintiff’s wrongful death allegation against the driver’s employer, but the ruling now leaves the driver as the lone defendant in the civil suit.

Bringing a wrongful death suit is a complex endeavor that requires the skills and experience of an experienced law firm. The wrongful death lawyers in Santa Barbara at the Law Offices of Renée J. Nordstrand can help your family recover compensation for both economic and emotional losses. If you believe you have a case, call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.