A victorious wrongful death lawsuit awards those listed in the suit with compensation damages. It may even help provide closure over the loss of a dear friend or family member. However, the impact of one wrongful death settlement in Houston will be felt for years to come.
Starting in September, a video narrated by a son of deceased Baylor College of Medicine researcher Estela Medrano will become part of the training curriculum offered to Houston police officers and will stay in effect until Aug. 31, 2014. In the video, officers will learn about the importance of operating lights and sirens while traveling at a high rate of speed, along with similar situations involving police officers across the United States.
The reason for the video is simple: In August 2010, Mrs. Medrano was killed by an Houston Police Department officer that was driving his patrol car at speeds in excess of 80 mph in an area where the speed limit was 35 mph. Furthermore, while the officer was responding to a "Priority 2" call, he neglected to turn on his flashing lights and sirens. To us, this is one of the best uses of a wrongful death settlement we have ever seen. Instead of just giving the Medrano family their money and sending them on their way, they are afforded the opportunity to prevent this from ever happening to anyone else in the future. For that, we feel compelled to praise both the Medrano's car accident lawyer, and the Houston Police Department. First, it is wonderful to see the attorney insisting this video becomes part of the settlement. Second, kudos goes out to the City of Houston for turning this tragedy into a teachable moment for the men in blue. More wrongful death cases should be handled this way. Not only is justice served, but it turns into a means of educating the generations to come. As British philosopher Edmund Burke once said, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." All we can do is hope the Houston Police Department chooses to make this video part of their training curriculum on a permanent basis.