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Sacramento County pays $27 million to family of girl who suffered brain damage in deputy-involved crash

Sacramento County paid the family of a 12-year-old girl a $27-million settlement after a crash involving a deputy left her with permanent brain damage.
Sacramento County paid the family of a 12-year-old girl a $27-million settlement after a crash involving a deputy left her with permanent brain damage.
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The family of a girl who suffered permanent brain damage after a crash involving a Sacramento County sheriff’s patrol vehicle has won a $27-million settlement, officials said.

Julian Awad, now 12, was in the passenger seat of her family’s car on July 14, 2017, when a sheriff’s SUV sped through an intersection and plowed into their vehicle, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The deputy driving the SUV was responding to a backup call about a fight in the area and did not turn on emergency lights or a siren while crossing the intersection, according to a California Highway Patrol incident report.

The deputy and all five family members — Julian, her mother, father and two siblings — were injured.

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Sacramento County’s $27-million settlement, which is one of the largest civil lawsuit settlements in the county’s history, includes attorneys fees and will help cover the costs of Julian’s medical care, which she will likely need for the rest of her life, according to the Bee.

“This settlement reached between the county and the plaintiffs cannot undo that moment in time of the horrific accident that changed [the family’s] lives forever,” Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said in a statement Friday morning. “Although no amount of money can truly compensate them for what they’ve been through, I sincerely hope that in some way it helps them in their recovery and moving forward.”

The deputy involved is still employed but “received substantial discipline” and is not on a patrol assignment, according to the sheriff’s department.

The Awads’ attorneys Robert Buccola and Jason Sigel could not immediately be reached for comment. But Sigel told the Bee that Julian has improved far more than doctors ever believed she would.

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“For the first year and a half ... you could call her name or play her favorite songs on the iPad and she wouldn’t respond,” he said. “But now she’s beginning to turn to that stimulus. She’s beginning to reach out to things. By all accounts, it’s a pretty miraculous recovery.”


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