When a family loses a loved one due to the negligence of another, knowing that justice will be served often provides some degree of comfort to those grieving. However, the criminal justice system isn’t the only entity that can mete out justice. Many who have lost loved ones in hit and run accidents in Colorado, for example, also pursue a wrongful death claim in a civil court. Such may be the next step for one family.
In June 2016, a 35-year-old cyclist was reportedly killed in a hit-and run accident. Police believe that a 25-year-old woman was driving the vehicle that struck the man. According to reports, she left the scene of the accident but was captured after a witness noticed the damage to the sports utility vehicle she was driving and contacted police.
Police say that the woman refused a field sobriety test, claiming that she would be arrested no matter what due to her criminal record. However, officers at the scene claim she smelled of alcohol, and there was a 30 pack of beer in the vehicle with only five beers that were unopened remaining. A blood draw conducted several hours after the accident reportedly indicated that her blood alcohol content was well over the legal limit. A passenger in the vehicle is said to have told police that he slept through the accident but confirmed that the woman had been driving.
The Colorado woman recently accepted a plea deal; as part of the deal, she pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter. Unfortunately, those who have lost a loved one in hit and run accidents know that the ramifications of the unexpected loss of a loved one go much deeper than a feeling of loss. Many struggle with funeral expenses and lost wages in addition to coping with their grief. Some seek justice against a negligent driver who causes a death or serious injury by filing a lawsuit in civil court. A successful case resulting in a monetary award can allow these victims to better manage their financial situation, helping them focus on their emotional recovery rather than how they will pay their bills.
Source: dailycamera.com, “Driver in hit-and-run that killed Boulder cyclist pleads guilty, will be sentenced to prison“, Mitchell Byars, March 10, 2017