County sheriff’s office pays $27 million after squad injures girl

She was only 10 years old when a county sheriff patrol crashed into her family’s Honda CRV. She suffered massive head wounds and will probably need 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Her family sued the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, which agreed last month to pay the family $27 million, the largest amount ever paid by the county to settle a civil lawsuit.

The family will create a trust for their daughter’s care and is installing an oxygen therapy chamber in their home for her.

Deputy neglects his duty to take reasonable care

Countless injuries happen in California every day.

Winning a personal injury lawsuit in the state usually depends on showing that the person or organization that caused the injury was negligent. Did they use reasonable care in their duty to avoid hurting other people?

Sacramento County settled before the suit got before a jury, which often hints that the defendant (the Sheriff’s Office) might have doubted their chances of convincing a jury.

Responding to an emergency without emergency precautions

The family’s father, mother and three children stopped at a three-way intersection, apparently out of caution since it had no stop signs or signal lights. They then pulled into the intersection to make a left-hand turn.

Seconds earlier, a sheriff deputy had gotten a call for backup for a “fight in progress.”

At the instant of the crash, the deputy was going 50 mph over the posted speed limit. The SUV’s headlights were on but not its emergency lights or siren. The accident injured all six people to varying degrees.

Finding ways to move forward after tragedy

The parents thought the sheriff’s deputy was negligent in avoiding the collision and the injury to their daughter.

However, their counsel says they know how deeply the accident emotionally affected the officer. They have no ill will toward him, and they believe he has “the highest moral character.”

Now 12 years old, their daughter has far exceeded the medical progress the doctors had predicted for her soon after the injury. She has begun to look toward people playing music she likes or saying her name, and she is now reaching out for objects.