On July 7, Earl Smith Jr., a 20-year-old Oceanside man, was driving his Toyota Corolla eastbound on Old Castle Road at 6:15 AM. At the same time, an elderly couple from Valley Center was heading the same way, a regular sight walking hand in hand on Old Castle Road. The screech of brakes and the sound of a crash chilled the air.
Rushing from her house, a nearby resident found the body of the 79 year old man near her driveway, and the body of his 78-year-old wife lifeless across the street. Booked at Vista Detention Facility, Mr. Smith faces charges of felony drunk driving and gross vehicular manslaughter.
In California a wrongful death action can be brought for an act or negligence that results in the death of another. Our firm works with bereaved individuals and families on these sometimes complicated cases to obtain compensation for survivors to carry on after the unexpected loss of their loved one.
Points to know about wrongful death actions in California include the following:
- Wrongful death actions can be brought by the personal representative of surviving family including spouse, domestic partner, children, and other dependents and parents.
- Compensation in a wrongful death case requires proof of liability and damages.
- If negligence is proven, California juries can award economic and non-economic damages, such as financial support, companionship and funeral and burial expenses.
In this case, choices made by Mr. Smith that morning forever changed the course of his life and allegedly ended the life of two others. If injured by the negligence or malfeasance of others, always obtain experienced legal counsel.