$18 Million Car Accident Settlement For Family of Woman Killed by Teen Driver

April 29, 2022
$18 Million Car Accident Settlement For Family of Woman Killed by Teen Driver

Car Accident Kills Woman Leading to Her Family Getting $18 Million Dollar Settlement

A year after their loved one, Monique Munoz, was killed in a broadside car accident in Hawthorne, California, the Munoz family received a settlement of $18.8 million dollars. This is one of the largest settlement payouts ever recorded for a single plaintiff in a wrongful death case in the state of California but there is more to this case than just a particularly large settlement. 

How Did This Deadly Car Accident Happen and Why?

Monique Munoz, 32,  was driving home from work at UCLA Health in Los Angeles on February 17, 2021, when she was broadsided at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Overland Avenue where she ultimately passed away due to accident-related injuries. Her vehicle was struck by 17-year-old Brendan Khuri, the son of millionaire entrepreneur James Khuri.  Munoz was making a left turn at the intersection when Brendan Khuri ran the red light at a speed estimated between 77 to 92 miles per hour in a 35-mile-per-hour zone while driving a Lamborghini. The prosecution in the resulting criminal case claimed that Khuri was weaving in and out of traffic at speeds surpassing 100 miles per hour prior to the car accident that killed Munoz. They also claim that this was due to Khuri racing another driver. The force of the collision was so intense that Munoz's vehicle was split in half which trapped her inside causing her to perish at the accident scene. 

The Legal Consequences of the Car Accident that Killed Monique Munoz

It goes without saying that the actions of Brendan Khuri were reckless and show a blatant disregard for the safety of others. The death of Monique Munoz was a devastating blow to her family and her community all because of a 17-year-old's selfish decisions. So it came as no surprise that the family of Munoz filed a wrongful death claim with the insurance company covering Khuri, Chubb insurance. 

The Lawsuit Against Chubb Insurance by the Munoz Family Over Discrimination

Normally the two parties would negotiate a fair settlement to cover the damages claimed by the harmed party and that would be the end of it but the Munoz family took issue with the amount of compensation that was offered by Chubb insurance which they considered substantially less than another settlement offered to a white family in a similar situation. It is not unusual for an insurance company to offer a settlement that is slightly lower in the expectation that they would be negotiating up with the claimants.  However, the settlement offered by Chubb insurance allegedly was millions of dollars less than the norm which the Munoz family claimed was due to their Latin ethnicity being taken into consideration during Chubb's calculations. Their grounds for this claim is a comparison to another similar case where a white family of a Manhattan Beach teen that was killed under similar circumstances was offered substantially more in a settlement. 

Restitution From the Kuhri's For Monique Munoz's Wrongful Death

The Munoz family filed a lawsuit against Chubb insurance over this discrimination which was recently settled for the aforementioned $18.8 million. This settlement is only the beginning since the Khuri family may be ordered to pay restitution by a judge at a later date to the Munoz family. The total monetary reward could potentially exceed $25 million according to attorneys representing the Munozs. Restitution differs from compensation offered by civil cases in that it is more punitive in nature and does not cover damages such as pain and suffering which is typically left to civil cases and instead covers damages such as medical bills, property damages, and funeral expenses. The compensation offered by restitution and a civil lawsuit is taken into consideration when calculating the amount offered by the other so that the harmed party does not receive double the compensation for damages. For the Munozs, this monetary reward is not about finances but instead about holding people accountable and honoring the memory of their loved one.

The Criminal Charges Against Brendan Khuri After the Car Accident

The reckless actions taken by Brendan Khuri absolutely necessitated criminal prosecution. After the accident that killed Monique Munoz, Brendan Khuri pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and was sentenced in September 2021 to seven to nine months in a juvenile detention camp with an additional four months of probation.  Since Brendan Khuri was not tried as an adult the longest he could be sentenced in the country's juvenile camp system is 9 months with additional time depending on his behavior. Had Khuri been tried as an adult he could have faced a maximum of six years behind bars. 

Brendan Khuri's History of Reckless and Dangerous Driving  

Khuri's criminal prosecution brought to light the fact that the negligent behavior that caused the death of Monique Munoz was not an isolated occurrence but part of a string of reckless driving incidents that have landed Khuri in trouble with the law.  Brendan Khuri has been confirmed as having received citations twice in October 2020 and November 2020 for speeding from the LAPD before the fatal accident. The first citation was for driving 72 mph in a 35-mile-per-hour zone and the second for making an unsafe start where he accelerated too quickly which led to the Lamborghini he was driving being impounded. Both of these run-ins with the law occurred while Khuri was driving without someone at least 25 years old in the vehicle per the rules of his learner's permit. Khuri also had several social media posts in the weeks before the accident about him engaging in dangerous activities while driving such as drifting and street racing.  The Lamborghini that was impounded weeks before the accident was taken out by his parents and returned to the teenager which begs the question of how responsible are they for this behavior that eventually cost a woman her life. 

James Khuri Misdemeanor Charges Related to Brendan Khuri Behavior

Brendan Khuri had shown a pattern of dangerous behavior when driving for some time and the actions of his parents are believed to have contributed to this. Brendan Khuri and his father, James Khuri posted videos of themselves speeding on their social media accounts. Brendan Khuri is believed to have not only experienced a lack of corrective action on the part of his parents but a negative example set by his father who now is charged with a misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. 

The Criminal Charges Against Brendan Khuri and the Munoz Wrongful Death Claim

Many car accident cases involve at-fault parties facing the consequences via criminal prosecution. This naturally does have an effect on the outcome of personal injury claims filed as a result of car accidents. In most instances, a civil lawsuit will usually wait for the resolution of a related criminal case before proceeding due to the potential benefits of evidence gathered by the prosecution and a potential conviction working in favor of the lawsuit. Civil lawsuits do not actually require a conviction in related criminal cases to proceed. Even if Brendan Khuri had not pleaded guilty and been sentenced for vehicular manslaughter, the Munoz family would still have been able to take civil legal action. This is because the burden of proof for criminal law and civil law are quite different. Civil cases only require a preponderance of evidence which is much easier to prove than the requirement of a crime being committed beyond all reasonable doubt when it comes to criminal cases.

Compensation for a Wrongful Death After a Car Accident

The tragic loss of Monique Munoz highlights the need for civil legal action to hold negligent drivers responsible for their reckless behavior For the Munoz family, this settlement is not just about getting compensation for damages because their daughter was killed by a negligent driver. The wrongful death claim and the consequent lawsuit they filed made sure that Monique Munoz was not someone to be seen as a discount by the insurance company and provided closure by ensuring that there were consequences for the Khuri's actions. The issues faced by the Munoz family with making sure their claim was not taken advantage of demonstrates the need for an experienced wrongful death lawyer when dealing with an insurance company.  

What Can a Car Accident Lawyer do for Your Case?

As evidenced by the Monique Munoz case, personal injury is a field of law where matters are seldom simple. The problems they faced when filing a wrongful death claim because of their loved one's fatal car accident are not rare. Had they not consulted an experienced car accident lawyer the insurance company would have gotten away with shorting them and taking advantage of Monique Munoz's memory. When you hire a personal injury lawyer to help with your wrongful death claim you gain more than just a legal expert that ensures you will not be taken advantage of. A good attorney provides a myriad of benefits and services that can bring you closer to successfully recovering damages through your claim or lawsuit. They can advise you on what options are available to you and what course of action will provide the best chance of success. Your car accident lawyer will work with you to build your case by helping you through assembling documentation, filling out paperwork, investigating the details of your case to gather evidence, and communicating with the insurance company. When you face insurance companies you need a negotiator that understands the nuances of the process and can leverage their ability to take the case to trial and win.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Florida Car Accident Case

Dolman Law Group has been helping families who have lost loved ones to negligent drivers with seeking fair settlements for years. We have cultivated a reputation as a firm that delivers results and listens to our client's concerns.  Our firm has made it a priority to not just provide award-winning and state-recognized legal representation but also take up the causes of those seeking settlements as our own. Dolman Law has seen more than our fair share of cases where families have had their loved ones taken away and we understand just how sensitive and complicated these situations can be. That is why we emphasize working closely with our clients to develop a legal strategy that works best for their needs.  To set up a free consultation with Dolman Law Group you can either fill out an online contact form or call our offices at (833) 55-CRASH.

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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