A car accident can happen in an instant. The aftermath and repercussions of an accident, on the other hand, may stretch out for months or even years. One family is learning this reality, as there have been recent developments related to a deadly November car accident that this blog reported on in a previous post.
The fatal accident, which occurred in Franklin County, Virginia, led to the death of a long-term elementary school teacher. Following the car accident, a search warrant revealed that pills and a nearly empty 3 liter box of wine were found in the car of the other driver involved in the accident. Additionally, that driver indicated that within the two hours prior to the fatal accident she had had two glasses of wine. The victim of the fatal drunk driving accident died at the scene of the accident, while the other driver involved suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Now, the 56 year old driver of the Dodge Journey automobile has been indicted on two criminal charges. A charge of DUI as a first offense, as well as a charge of reckless involuntary DUI manslaughter are both pending against the driver.
While these pending charges are criminal matters, some families who have lost loved ones in similar circumstances may opt to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, as a negligent driver may be held not only criminally liable, but also civilly liable following a deadly accident. Commonly, civil wrongful death trials follow criminal trials, and while civil suits have a lower standard of proof, they rely on much of the same evidence. Significantly, it is still possible to pursue a civil case even if a driver is not found criminally liable. A family who has lost a loved in a tragic car collision may wish to consider consulting with an attorney for advice regarding potential legal options.
Source: roanoke.com, "Indictments brought against driver in crash that killed Franklin County teacher," Neil Harvey, Feb. 2, 2016