Back in 2010, a 24-year-old woman was killed as she was getting out of a parked car when a driver struck her in a last-second lane change. According to a report by WUSA 9, the driver of a Lexus SUV was on Connecticut Avenue NW in a lane that would take her through a tunnel under Dupont Circle. At the last minute, she changed lanes and entered a non-tunnel lane.
However, as she did so, she struck the 24-year-old woman getting out of her car. The driver continued on her way, not stopping to see if the victim was hurt. A witness to the accident hopped on a bike and followed the car, eventually getting close enough to get her license plate number. The witness called police, who then showed up at the woman’s apartment complex. The woman was in her vehicle, keys in hand, with a strong smell of alcohol on her breath. The front right headlight was damaged.
The Criminal Trial
Back in 2011, the driver was tried on a series of other charges relating to the accident. She was ultimately convicted on charges of negligent homicide, leaving the scene of a collision involving injury, and driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the voluntary manslaughter charge.
Earlier this month, the driver was tried again for voluntary manslaughter. This time the jury found her guilty and returned a verdict sentencing her to six and one-half years in prison for her role in the fatal hit-and-run accident.
Potential Civil Ramifications of the Accident
While the criminal trial has now been completed, that is not necessarily the end of the driver’s exposure to liability under the justice system. The family of the accident victim may wish to file a wrongful death case against the driver for her role in causing the death of their loved one.
A wrongful death case is an entirely separate cause of action than the criminal case, and the result of one does not dictate the result of the other. However, in cases where a person is found guilty of a criminal offense, the chances that he or she will also be held civilly liable are high because, generally speaking, it is harder to prove a criminal case due to the higher burden of proof required.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a DC Accident?
If you have recently lost a loved one in any kind of DC accident, you may be entitled to monetary damages to help compensate you for your loss through a wrongful death action. Wrongful death actions must be brought by certain qualifying plaintiffs. Usually parents, children, or spouses will qualify. In addition, they must prove that the defendant was at least negligent in causing the death of their loved one. This is often best left to an experienced personal injury attorney. To learn more, and to speak to a dedicated attorney about your potential case, call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
DC Court of Appeals Determines Hospital Is Liable for Conduct of Temporary Nurse, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 31, 2014
New Report Finds over 60 Virginia Children Have Died in Daycare Facilities Since 2004, Lack of Oversight Blamed, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 4, 2014
Misplaced Construction Sign Results in $100,000 Settlement with St. Louis County, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2014