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Sonora Woman Killed After Fatal Car Crash on Phoenix Lake Road

Woman Killed in Fatal Head-On Collision in Sonora

A woman was killed, and four children were injured after a fatal head-on collision in the Sonora area on the night of Monday, October 26, 2020. The deadly crash occurred on Phoenix Lake Road in the vicinity of Bear Cub Drive at approximately 6:15 p.m. A 19-year-old man allegedly lost control of his truck and entered the direct path of a 1996 Suzuki SUV driven by 33-year-old Melissa Patania of Sonora. Sadly, Ms. Patania suffered fatal injuries at the scene. Her four minor passengers all suffered critical injuries and were flown to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment. The man was transported by air ambulance to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for treatment of serious injuries. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that he is facing driving under the influence (DUI) and vehicular manslaughter charges. A GoFundMe page has been created on behalf of Ms. Patania to help support her five surviving children and her final resting expenses.

Losing Someone You Love in a Fatal Crash

An unexpected loss in the family is heartbreaking. When a parent, spouse, or child is lost due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, no amount of money can bring them back or make the pain go away. What a wrongful death settlement can do is provide a family with the financial support they need to cover final resting expenses and allow them to focus on recovering and grieving their loss. It can also provide a sense of justice for surviving family members knowing that the person or entity has been held financially accountable for their loss.

What Types of Damages Can a Family Receive for a Loved One’s Wrongful Death?

Compensation awarded in a wrongful death claim serves to cover past and future emotional and financial costs to the decedent’s family. It comes in two forms, economic damages and non-economic damages, including:

  • Medical expenses and funeral bills
  • Lost earnings, including future wages the decedent would have provided to the family if not for the wrongful death car accident
  • Loss of companionship, support, care, and guidance
  • Mental anguish suffered by the survivors of the decedent
  • Aside from non-economic and economic losses, punitive damages may be sought from the at-fault party by your Sonora wrongful death lawyer for egregious conduct like DUI or excessive speeding.

Additional details on the wrongful death claims process are included in the video below.

How are Damages Calculated in a Wrongful Death Case?

Economic damages in a wrongful death claim for funeral costs and medical bills are less challenging to calculate as they may be proven through receipts. Lost benefits and future earnings are much more difficult to evaluate and require a determination of the decedent’s life expectancy and earnings over their lifetime. Economists are often retained in wrongful death cases to calculate a full and fair value of lost future financial support for survivors. Loss of a loved one’s companionship, care, protection, and mental anguish are non-economic damages that cannot be easily calculated. These damages are subjective in nature and unique to each surviving family member’s extent of the loss.

How a Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You After a Fatal Sonora Head-On Collision

At, we understand that the unexpected loss of a close relative can be devastating in many ways for surviving family members. The last thing a family would want to deal with during this difficult time is paperwork, filing deadlines, and unsympathetic insurance companies focused on reducing or denying wrongful death claims. If you have lost someone you love in a fatal accident caused by negligence, our compassionate and experienced wrongful death attorneys in Sonora can help seek the justice your loved one and your family rightfully deserves. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help your family in your time of grief and loss.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Sonora

I’m Ed Smith, a Sonora personal injury lawyer. Did you lose someone you love in a fatal crash caused by someone else’s negligence? Our legal team is here to help your family seek the justice you and your family deserve for the loss of your loved one. Contact us today to receive our free, friendly legal advice on how to get started on the wrongful death claims process at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400.

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As wrongful death attorneys in California, we have helped many families who have lost loved ones in fatal accidents caused by negligence. To see how we have helped other families impacted by wrongful death, visit our Verdicts and Settlements page to view a selection of our past case results.

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