Barbara Eakin and her new husband Clay were headed to the airport to leave for their honeymoon. The year was 2013, and they had just gotten married. However, before they arrived at their destination, the Eakins were involved in a deadly crash involving a drunk driver. Mr. Eakin survived and is suing the local county and city of Burien, Wash. for $16.5 million, alleging they were negligent.
The drunk driver that hit the Eakin car had gone over the barricaded embankment. Though newly wed couple were pulled out of the wreck and transported to the nearest hospital, Mrs. Eakin died there 20 days later.
The accident location at hand is a notorious dead end at South 116th in Burien, where a red sign and reflective neon barrier are present to warn drivers. According to the neighbors on the stretch of road leading to the barrier and sign, not all cars stop there. Some have gone right through the barrier, and ended up going straight down the hill.
Even though the drunk driver received an 11-year prison sentence, the plaintiff and his daughter felt he was not the only culpable party. He suggests in his lawsuit that the county and city of Burien could have prevented the accident by replacing a guardrail that the city removed in 2009 in order to erect a barricade, a barricade which was yet to exist at the time of the Eakin accident.
Wrongful death lawsuits are usually not about money, but about sending a message to others. Eakin does not want what happened to him to happen to another family. The city suggests their law enforcement is good, but it is difficult even for them to prevent drunk drivers from recklessly speeding down a well-marked dead end road.
These types of lawsuits are difficult for everyone involved, as there are typically other factors to be considered in the case. In this instance, the city is suggesting Eakin only filed the lawsuit because the drunk driver has no insurance. Whatever the circumstances of the case, having a seasoned personal injury attorney onside is the only way to ensure justice, and an equitable outcome.