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Auto Accident Wrongful Death

Practice Area: Motor Vehicle Accident, Bodily Injury, Wrongful Death

Jarvinen v. Gilliam
San Francisco County Superior Court

A husband and wife were traveling north on Highway 1, near Gualala, California for a Valentine's Day getaway when their vehicle was hit head-on by defendant Gilliam, a drunk driver whose vehicle had crossed the center line. The wife was killed and the husband injured. Gilliam, who was traveling home from a business meeting, was arrested after the accident with a blood alcohol level of 0.23 percent, nearly three times the legal limit.

The deceased wife had been employed as a hospital radiology technician supervisor. She was very active both in her church and community. She was survived by her husband and four adult children, all of whom brought suit against Gilliam and his employer.

Gilliam's insurance policy only provided a maximum of $200,000 in coverage for this accident. However, his employer had insurance policies with coverage totaling $4 million. The plaintiffs contended that the employer's insurance was available to compensate the family because the accident happened while Gilliam was within the course and scope of his employment. The employer denied that Gilliam was within the course of his employment because he was going home at the time of the accident and was intoxicated.

Shortly before trial, and after the court concluded that the jury would determine whether Gilliam was in the course of his employment, the case settled for cash and periodic payments having a present value of $4 million.

Resolution: $4 Million


Articles Relating to this Case

Wife dead, husband injured after crash with drunk driver

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