$375,000 In Tragic Wrongful Death Case

Marjorie Rodriguez was the beautiful, seven year old, only child of Alexandra and Jose Rodriguez. On the morning of March 30, 2004, her life was tragically cut short when her mother's car was struck by a speeding tow truck as Marjorie's mother took her to school.

Marjorie's case was referred to Bill Sublette by a local attorney after two other firms rejected her family's case because the Traffic Homicide Report placed all the blame for the accident

on Marjorie's mother, and none on the tow truck driver. At first glance it appeared the police were right. The Traffic Homicide Report listed four independent witnesses to the accident, and according to the investigating officer all of them placed blame for the accident upon Marjorie's mother, claiming she ran a red traffic signal and turned into the right of way of the oncoming tow truck. The insurer for the tow truck company felt so strongly about their client's position that they made clear that no money whatsoever would be tendered for this tragic accident.

Our firm took Marjorie's case because it is our policy to thoroughly investigate all death cases, or cases with significant injuries, notwithstanding the conclusions of the police or others. When we first obtained the police file it appeared their conclusions were correct. None of the four witnesses suggested the tow truck driver was at fault, and the investigating officer stated that upon interviewing those witnesses they claimed that Marjorie's mother was at fault. We learned there were two additional witnesses, however, and we took the further step of actually ordering the cassette tapes of the officer's witness interviews and of personally interviewing those witnesses who would give us sworn statements. Our firm's investigation paid off, because in actuality two of the six witnesses placed blame for the accident squarely on the tow truck driver, two were ambivalent and could not ascertain fault, and two placed blame on Marjorie's mother, a far different picture than that painted by the investigating police agency.

After receiving the results of our firm's independent investigation the insurer for the tow truck company agreed to mediate the dispute. A video animation of the accident emphasizing the varying perspectives of the six witnesses was prepared to illustrate for the to the insurer at mediation the testimony that would be presented if our clients were forced to try this case. Because of the thoroughness of our investigation and trial preparation we were able to obtain a favorable result for Marjorie's parents at mediation notwithstanding what remained a weak liability case, and to spare the Rodriquez's the trauma of having to relive their daughter's death at trial.

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