When a driver’s negligence or recklessness causes a vehicular accident that results in an injury or death, the at-fault driver can be held financially liable for damages resulting from the accident. In personal injury cases, these damages include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. In wrongful death cases, the deceased accident victim’s family may be able to recover funeral and burial expenses, lost companionship and society, and other damages.
In addition to a civil lawsuit sounding in negligence, there may also be a criminal prosecution if the at-fault driver’s conduct was more than simple negligence. Typically, the criminal case does not yield any financial recovery for the accident victim (although the court may order the defendant to pay reparations in some cases), but a finding of guilt in the criminal case can be of assistance in proving fault in the civil case.
The decision to bring criminal charges after a motor vehicle accident rests with the State, namely the police and the district attorney. The exact charges depend upon the facts of the accident.
Woman Charged with Felony Murder After Crash
Recently, a Texas woman was charged with the crime of felony murder after she allegedly caused a five-vehicle crash that left a motorcyclist dead. According to news reports, the woman was intoxicated at the time of the accident. She allegedly had two small children in her car and had been involved in two other accidents on the same day as the fatal wreck.
Felony murder occurs when a person commits an act clearly dangerous to human life during the commission (or attempted commission) of a felony. Under Texas law, felony murder is punished more severely than similar offenses, such as criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter.
What Happens Next
As the State develops its criminal case against the woman allegedly responsible for the fatal crash, it is likely that some of the people who were injured or whose property was damaged will file civil lawsuits against her. The family of the deceased motorcyclist may also bring a wrongful death action. Some or all of the plaintiffs in these suits may seek not only compensatory damages but also punitive damages, due to the particularly egregious nature of the woman’s conduct.
If the woman was uninsured or had only minimal coverage, some of the potential plaintiffs may also file claims with their uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance carriers. Given the number of people involved in the crash and the complication of the criminal case, it is likely that the matter will take years before final resolution.
For Advice About Your East Texas Auto Accident
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one due to the negligence or recklessness of another motorist, you should contact an attorney who can advise you on your legal rights. To talk to a board-certified east Texas car, truck, and motorcycle accident attorney with three decades of experience, call the Law Office of Earl Drott, P.C., and ask for a free consultation. We assist clients in and around Tyler, as well as elsewhere in east Texas.
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