$15.4 Million Settlement Reached in Hiking Death of Attorney

A settlement has been reached in the deaths of a young California attorney and her cousin, after the two women fell to their death while hiking in Hawaii.

The details are tragic. A 32-year-old attorney and her 25-year-old cousin were hiking in a state park, in December 2006. The two encountered a sign warning them not to proceed further along their trail, as it forked to the left. As such, they took the path to the right, which looked to be part of the trail but was not, and instead lead to a cliff, covered in vegetation, with a 300-foot drop. Last year, a Hawaiian judge found the state was liable for the deaths of the two women, because the sign created a hazard that essentially led them to their fatal fall.

The $15.4 million settlement is believed to be the highest personal injury settlement in state history. Here’s the kicker, though. Of that figure, $425,000 is awarded to the family of the cousin, with the remaining $15 million being awarded to the attorney’s family. Wow, big difference. I get the whole “future earning potential” and all. And she did work for one of the nation’s biggest firms. Still. That’s a hard gap to swallow.

Of note, another hiker had previously fallen off the same cliff, however, he survived when he landed in a tree canopy 200 feet down. The area has now been fenced off, two deaths too late.

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