SETTLEMENT: 73-year-old truck driver burned to death after another trucker collided with him at an intersection.
On January 4, 2013, Plutarco Perez, 73, was driving a tractor trailer on a two-lane rural road in Kern County in the same direction as another tractor trailer being driven by Andrew Mateut. Perez was further ahead of Mateut and beginning to make a left turn at an intersection when the two trucks collided. The collision quickly ignited a fire and the two trucks were quickly engulfed. While Mateut was able to exit his truck, Perez was unable to escape his cab and tragically burned to death.
Perez’s widow and four adult sons hired Roger E. Booth of the Law Offices of Booth & Koskoff to represent them in a wrongful death lawsuit against Mateut and his insurance company.
While there were no independent witnesses to the fatal accident, based on the evidence of the scene, the Plaintiffs alleged that Mateut must have tried to pass Perez as he prepared to turn left at the intersection. This illegal maneuver impeded Perez’s path and directly caused the collision. This version of the events was supported by the location in which the vehicles came to rest, visible skid marks on the road, and the physical damage done to both trucks.
In addition to the driver, the Plaintiffs contended that Roland Transport and Aquila Motor Freight were similarly liable for Perez’s death as they employed Mateut and were responsible for the tractor-trailer Mateut was driving at the time of the incident.
Mateut claimed that the decedent was parked along the shoulder of the road near the intersection when he suddenly pulled out directly in front of Mateut, and this sudden change of movement forced him to take evasive action.
Booth and his team were able to obtain a significant settlement. They were limited, however, by Perez’s semi-retired state and reduced earnings at the time of the accident. The case settled for the defendant’s $1 million insurance policy limits. Of this amount, the Plaintiffs received $780,000, California Insurance Company received $200,000 as reimbursement paid out the family in form of workers’ compensation death benefits, and $20,000 went to the decedent’s employer to resolve a property damage claim.
“We felt lucky like we were referred to Booth & Koskoff by someone we trusted. Richard’s professionalism and tenacity showed that he definitely was in our court.”
– John Mahoney
“Because of Roger’s experience and professionalism, I was able to focus on the others things I needed to do for my brother to care for him during this time. He was a godsend, and I would highly recommend Roger and his staff.”
– Penny Vincelli
“From the moment I contacted Booth & Koskoff from my hospital bed to the eventual settlement of my case, I experienced nothing but outstanding assistance and representation.”
– Claire Rexon
The lawyers and staff at Booth & Koskoff were efficient, thorough, helpful and always available, even on weekends. I am very pleased with my overall experience, and I would recommend Booth & Koskoff to anyone who needs an excellent attorney.
– Keith Schultz
“Mr. Booth did an incredible job resolving the case for us, and we are very thankful for the successful ending to our lawsuit. Thank you for your hard work Mr. Booth. You will always be our family lawyer and friend.”
– Sam Kirakosyan
When I met with Roger, he was honest, genuine, and straight-forward on how we would proceed. Roger took a leap of faith when taking this case. He trusted what I said to be true, and wasn’t afraid to proceed.
– Cynthia Mitchell
My family experienced a tremendous loss as a result of my father’s death. During the entire process of investigation and settlement of our case, we were treated with the utmost professionalism by the Booth & Koskoff attorneys and staff.
– Dale Magner