Pennsylvania man takes responsibility for drunk driving accident
For many victims and their families, the conclusion of a criminal case does not signify the end of their seeking justice for their loss. A Pennsylvania drunk driving accident which results in the death of another may result in a civil suit being filed by the victim’s family, which sometimes takes longer to resolve than the criminal case. In such cases, the family may be able to use some of the evidence admitted in the criminal case to prove that the defendant should also be found liable in their civil case and thus be held responsible for a monetary judgment in their favor. If a criminal conviction is obtained, evidence of that conviction may be offered in the civil trial to support allegations of negligence.
In a recent case, a man has admitted his criminal responsibility for a deadly accident in Erie that took the life of a 24-year-old. As a result of his guilty plea, the man now faces a minimum of three years in prison. He was alleged to have been operating a motor vehicle at a high rate of speed when he ran a stop sign and struck another vehicle.
The woman who was driving the other vehicle survived the accident. It was not clear from a news report if she suffered any injuries. Police stated that the man had a blood alcohol content that was over three times the legal limit in Pennsylvania.
The civil standard of proof is far less strict than that which is required in a Pennsylvania criminal case. As a result, the guilty plea of the man in this case can go a long way to ensuring that the victim’s family receives the compensation they need to cope with their tragedy. Although the compensation will never bring their loved one back, the combination of a criminal sentence and a monetary award may at least give the family a sense that justice has been adequately served in this tragic drunk driving accident.
Source: Carlisle Sentinel, “Pa. man pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash” (http://cumberlink.com/news/state-and-regional/pa-man-pleads-guilty-in-fatal-dui-crash/article_e98e9a6e-f758-11e1-a890-001a4bcf887a.html ) Sept. 5, 2012