There are few things as devastating as the loss of a loved one due to another person’s negligence. During a time of extreme grief, family and friends of victims may not know where to turn for comfort or what their legal options are.
It is important to remember that after certain types of preventable death, legal recourse may be available in the form of criminal charges, a civil lawsuit or both. After a fatal drunk driving accident, for example, the at-fault driver will likely face criminal charges, but may also be sued for wrongful death.
Earlier this month, the family of a southeastern Texas woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who allegedly struck and killed her in an accident last June. According to the lawsuit, the victim was riding her skateboard when she was struck by the defendant’s pickup truck. The plaintiffs claim that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
It is unclear if the driver in this particular case also faced criminal charges. In most drunk driving accidents, criminal charges are filed. This is especially true if the driver injured or killed others in the crash. But regardless of criminal proceedings, victims’ families and loved ones may choose to pursue a wrongful death or negligence claim against at-fault driver.
Civil lawsuits are an important tool for victims and/or their families to help pay for medical bills, funeral costs, loss of income and other financial losses. Civil suits can also provide compensation for pain and suffering and loss of companionship, among other things.
If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, criminal charges may or may not be appropriate. But regardless of any criminal proceedings, you may wish to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your options for pursuing a civil lawsuit.
Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Driver sued after fatally striking skateboarder with his truck," Annie Cosby, April 29, 2014