Families who have suffered the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident have legal options and protections to consider.
A 19-year old Michigan teen was recently sentenced to ten days in jail following a crash during the summer of 2013 that claimed the life of one man. The teen's driver's license was also suspended for two years. The teen was charged with two misdemeanors related to the crash, including vehicular manslaughter. The teen crossed the center line, striking the vehicle the 61-year old victim was driving, killing him.
Family members of the man that was killed believe that the boy was utilizing a cell phone to text or was otherwise distracted at the time of the fatal car accident. The prosecutor noted that, although the teen had received a speeding ticket a couple of hours prior to the fatal crash, no evidence of texting was found. He noted the teen somehow "zoned out" and the family of the victim believes the teen was distracted at the time of the crash. The victim's widow addressed the teen in court. She discussed the deep feeling of loss she has experienced as a result of losing her husband.
Those who have suffered the unexpected loss of a loved one may find that in additional to the emotional struggles encountered after the loss, financial challenges may also arise. Because of this, surviving family members are able to bring a wrongful death claim when the negligence of another caused the loss. Family members may be able to recover medical and funeral expenses, loss of support and services damages, as well as pain and suffering damages. To prove the negligence of another, oftentimes citations or criminal charges that result from the accident can be used.
A wrongful death claim against the negligent driver that caused the death of a loved one may be helpful to family members. A trained personal injury attorney can listen to a family and help the family better understand the process of bringing a claim for compensation of damages.
Source: ABC6OnYourSide, "Mich. Teen Gets 1-Day Sentence for Fatal Delaware Co. Crash," Ken Hines, et al., Dec. 31, 2013