Justice in Two Forms: Criminal and Personal Injury Trials
Last week, a woman at fault for a hit and run accident that killed a person in West Austin was charged with two additional crimes - manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter. She had originally faced a lesser charge because the prosecutor's office did not have enough evidence to prove that she was intoxicated.
"It was such a great feeling once they found the evidence," the victim's father said. The woman could spend 20 years in prison if convicted.
Criminal charges can bring justice to a family who has lost a loved one to a hit and run accident, whether drunk driving was involved or not. The criminal justice system cannot, however, compensate a family for the accident.
That is why bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver is vital.
Through a personal injury lawsuit, a family may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other economic and noneconomic damages. In certain cases, such as hit-and-run accident cases and drunk driving accident cases, the family may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are another way to punish the drunk driver for his or her actions.
Drivers who leave the scene of the accident or choose to get behind the wheel drunk never have an excuse for their behavior. They should face both criminal charges and civil lawsuits. Yet, injured individuals or families mourning their lost loved ones should not have to deal with the legal details. While prosecutors handle the criminal charges, an experienced accident attorney can handle the personal injury side, taking that burden off your shoulders.
Source: KVUE.com, "Nestande indicted on more serious charges in fatal hit-and-run," Jessica Holloway, Oct. 25, 2012
Learn more about personal injury lawsuits after fatal accidents by visiting our pages on wrongful death.