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Car Victim's Family receives a $1.1 Million Settlement for Fatal Tree Accident

Firefighters work to remove a giant eucalyptus tree that crushed a car at a traffic light, killing 29-year-old Haeyoon Miller. (Don Leach / Daily Pilot / September 15, 2011)

On September 2011, Haeyoon Miller was waiting at a red light on Irvine Avenue at 17th Street, near the Newport-Costa Mesa border when a 10-ton, 70-foot blue gum eucalyptus tree crushed her car. Firefighters arrived and said they found the 29-year-old unresponsive when they arrived.

A city crane was required to remove the tree from the crushed car. Miller, a Juilliard-educated violinist.

The parents claimed the cities failed to maintain the tree, which was on the edge of Costa Mesa city limits but maintained by Newport Beach. Miller's father said in a complaint that the trees in the area leaned dangerously toward the street. After the cities rejected the claims, the parents sued them in June 2012 and also sued West Coast Arborist.

The city resolved the lawsuits in May, paying $500,000 of the $1.1-million total, said City Attorney Aaron Harp. The city of Newport Beach's insurance carrier paid $550,000, and the tree-maintenance contractor, West Coast Arborist, paid $50,000, he said. Miller's parents each filed wrongful-death claims against the cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa in March 2012.

At the Law Offices of Timothy J. Ryan, we hope by highlighting these recent events, the public can be more informed of their rights.

For more details on this story, please click HERE-LA TIMES.


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