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Widow of Oakland man settles train crash wrongful death lawsuit

When a family member or loved one is killed by the negligence of others, it may take a long time to finally achieve justice. However, with patience and persistence, family and friends of deceased victims can usually get the compensation they deserve.

Oakland readers may remember an accident from 2009 that claimed the life of a journalist who wrote for the Oakland Tribune. The 70-year-old man was struck by a San Francisco Muni train as he tried to cross the street in the crosswalk. He was knocked into a nearby pole and hospitalized for two weeks before finally succumbing to his severe injuries.

The victim’s wife of 25 years filed an Oakland wrongful death lawsuit against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority. Earlier this week, the agency announced that its board of directors has approved a settlement amount of $900,000 to be paid to the victim’s wife. It is one of the agency’s largest settlements in recent years.

According to records, the at-fault Muni driver saw the man approaching the crosswalk but incorrectly assumed that he planned to stop before crossing. Without signaling, the driver pulled into the crosswalk and struck the victim. In his obituary, the man’s colleagues remembered him as “one of the most energetic, enthusiastic people on the planet.”

Relief for this grieving widow came almost three full years after she filed her wrongful death lawsuit. But as this settlement shows, justice delayed is not always justice denied. Hopefully, the outcome of this lawsuit will help the woman pay any related medical and funeral expenses as well as find a sense of healing and closure.

Source:, “SF transit agency approves settlement in Muni crash that killed Oakland Tribune journalist,” Kristin J. Bender, Mar. 20, 2013

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