Braydon E. Nielsen, a Washington City cyclist died after being struck by a white Dodge mini-van Tuesday evening, September 3, 2013, at about 5:45 p.m. According to news reports, Braydon E. Nielsen was riding his bicycle on Southern Parkway when he was struck by a white minivan that was traveling westbound on Southern Parkway. According to St. George Police Lt. Shawn Hinton, the driver of the minivan and witnesses reported that the sun was impairing their vision. The driver of the minivan reportedly told the investigating officer that he did not see Mr. Nielsen until he hit him. According to the Spectrum, “Emergency personnel performed CPR on Nielsen at the scene before he was airlifted at about 8 p.m.” Mr. Braydon E. Nielsen is a triathlete who leaves behind a wife and four young children. Mr. Nielsen was a nurse who worked at Dixie Regional Medical Center. He certainly will be missed by all those who worked with him and competed with him in his running, biking and swimming. For more information, visit: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=26716948&nid=148&title=bicyclist-fatally-hit-setting-sun-may-be-a-factor&fm=home_page&s_cid=queue-2. http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/56822165-219/nielsen-george-troopers-wrote.html.csp. http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/56823667-219/crash-nielsen-uhp-cyclists.html.csp. http://www.thespectrum.com/article/20130903/NEWS01/309030014/
We certainly hope that the 58-year-old driver of the minivan, along with his insurer, will do the right thing to help Mr. Nielsen’s wife and young children cope with the tragic loss of their husband and father. Driving with the sun in your eyes is dangerous. It is like driving blind. As drivers, we have a legal duty to use ordinary care to avoid placing others in danger and to use care to keep a proper lookout for potential harm. We have a duty to operate our car so as to avoid danger. When we violate our duty and cause harm to another, we must compensate that person for the harm done.
How do we compensate for harm done? What is required? We have struggled with this since the beginning of time. From the earliest of writings, what we see is a struggle to figure out how are we going to do justice on earth? We as a human race have struggled with this over and over again. In the Old Testament, in the book of Isaiah, it states, “Learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless and plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17. In the book of Exodus, it talks of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a burning for a burning and a wound for a wound form of justice. In Exodus, Chapter 20, it states if an ox were to gore someone and the ox had a history of pushing with its horns, the ox was to be stoned and its owner was to be killed unless the owner paid a sum of money to ransom his life.
Fortunately, under our civilized system of modern justice, the law doesn’t allow an eye for eye or a tooth for a tooth type of justice. Under our civilized system, instead of an eye for an eye, the law requires that the injured party be fairly and adequately compensated for the loss sustained. In other words, all we can do is award a sum of money, a poor substitute indeed for the loss sustained, but we award a sum of money equal to the harm done. There’s no other way to do it because the law, unfortunately, cannot turn back the clock and restore that which was taken.
Under Utah law, in a wrongful death action, the heirs of the decedent are entitled to recover the following damages from the wrongdoer: 1) Loss of support – the amount of money the decedent would have earned had his or life not been taken; 2) Loss of assistance and service to the family; 3. Loss of society, companionship and happiness of associations with the decedent; and 4) Loss of the possibility of inheritance, if the descendent is an adult. The “‘full value of the life of the deceased is determined and recovered’” and this value includes the “‘financial support furnished; loss of affection, counsel and advice; loss of deceased’s care and solicitude for the welfare of the family; and loss of the comfort and pleasure the family of the deceased would have received.’” Allen v. United States, 588 F. Supp. 247, 1984 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16823 (D. Utah 1984). We certainly hope that the insurer of the person responsible for this tragic death will immediately step up to the plate and take care of the Nielsen family; that the insurer will do what it is required to do under Utah law when there has been a wrongful death by fairly and adequately compensating the Mr. Braydon Nielsen’s family.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Braydon Nielsen family. May they find peace and hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ during these most difficult of times.
Truman Law Firm, Your Utah and Las Vegas Personal Injury and Accident Attorney. Although we are here to help you every step of the way with your personal injury claim, let’s all work together to make our roads a safer place so you won’t need our services in the first place.