LA County Supervisors Approve $11.75 Million Settlement in Wrongful Death Case
The family of entertainment lawyer and former Napster executive, Milt Olin Jr., who was struck and killed by an LA County Sheriff’s deputy found to have been texting at the time of the crash, will receive an $11.75 million settlement from the county. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the settlement. Olin was riding his bicycle in the bike lane on Mulholland Highway the afternoon of Dec. 8, 2013 when the deputy swerved into the bike lane and struck him.
Largest Settlement Paid by County
Olin’s family claimed that Deputy Andrew Wood was texting his wife at the time of the incident. The settlement, which came a week before the civil trial was set to begin, is the largest the county has ever paid out. Wood did not face criminal charges even though an internal investigation determined he violated department policy. He was reprimanded. Court documents show Wood initially told investigators that Olin was the one who swerved out of the bike lane and denied texting or looking at his mobile computer.
When asked to turn in his cell phone, Wood said he threw it away because it was broken. Still a deputy with LASD, Wood has been reassigned to court duties. Olin’s wife, Louise, has created the Milt Olin Foundation in her husband’s honor. The organization aims to eliminate distracted driving-related injuries and fatalities through education, community awareness, collaboration, and advocacy efforts.
Bicyclists and Distracted Driving
Bicyclists and pedestrians are more vulnerable to distracted drivers. During the summer, we’ll see more and more people on bicycles either commuting or biking for recreational purposes. Distracted driving, as we saw in this case, could prove deadly for bicyclists. Motorists would be well advised to put away their phones when they drive. It is a good idea to even stay away from hands-free devices while driving because these can be distracting as well.
If you are a bicyclist who has been injured by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, and pain and suffering. Families that have lost loved ones as a result of distracted driving crash may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation. An experienced Los Angeles bicycle accident lawyer will be able to help injured victims or their families better understand their legal rights and options.