On Saturday evening, August 20, 2016 a mother and two children were tragically killed after Nicholas Stephen Munoz struck them with his car as the three were crossing the street. At approximately 10:25 pm, Munoz, 27 of Placentia, crashed into Patricia Ladzema, 34, and her two daughters Stephanie, 8, and Dayana, 4 at the 800 block of West La Jolla Street in Placentia. Police officers who were nearby for an unrelated incident heard the crashed and rushed to the scene. Unfortunately, the three were pronounced deceased at the scene when paramedics arrived. Careli Ledzama-another daughter of Ms. Ladzema witness the entire tragic collision killing her mother and sisters. Police arrested Munoz, the driver of the vehicle, on suspicion murder and driving under the influence of alcohol. Our thoughts and condolences are with the family of the deceased.
Kevin Warn / The Orange County Register
Any incident resulting in fatalities is a difficult time for families and friends of victims. Often times, there is little, if any, information regarding the facts and circumstances of a catastrophic event. It becomes frustrating for family and friends who need information. When tragedy strikes, a compassionate and experienced attorney can help families navigate through times that are emotionally and physically trying.
Kalfayan Merjanian, LLP has successfully navigated the web of evidence with law enforcement, fire departments and hospitals to get answers as quickly as possible. Our office can handle the insurance companies for you and give you the time needed to grieve. Furthermore, Kalfayan Merjanian has the resources to find witnesses and obtain recorded interviews while facts are still fresh. At Kalfayan Merjanian, we know that no amount of money can replace a friend or loved one. But we also know that funeral costs, loss of earnings and loss of love and support also become a concern after a catastrophic event. Our aggressive and effective approach to handling catastrophic injuries can get funeral expenses covered right away and immediately bring a civil action against those responsible.
Traditionally, auto collisions are based on negligence-or careless behavior causing injury and damages. Suites based on traditional wrongful death are limited to actual damages they do not punish the wrongdoer for their dangerous behavior.
Nevertheless, if Munoz was under the influence at the time of the collision, he can be liable for damages in excess of the general legal principles that govern tort recovery. California law provides for punitive-damages designed to punish wrongful behavior-when a wrongdoer demonstrates despicable conduct with a willful and conscious disregard for the safety of others. Driving under the influence is evidence of conduct with no regard for the safety of others. A skilled personal injury attorney can investigate the facts of this case and bring an appropriate lawsuit seeking the recovery of damages to the family. If the facts demonstrate despicable conduct in disregard for human life, an experienced attorney can also include punitive damages where traditionally these kind of damages were not recoverable. The attorneys and staff at Kalfayan Merjanian, LLP have the experience and resources to fully investigate liability and bring an aggressive wrongful death action against those responsible.
In some instances, bystanders also have a separate action for witnessing a tragic injury. California provides for a claim for the infliction of emotional distress when a close family member witnesses the injury or death of a loved one. The attorneys at Kalfayan and Merjanian have the experience and resources to fully investigate all theories of liability and provide families with the highest recovery for losses and grief.
Kalfayan Merjanian has combined legal experience worth decades among its attorneys and support staff and has achieved aggregate recoveries in the billions of dollars across all of its practice areas.
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