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Families find degree of justice in wrongful death suits

Too many innocent people are involved in serious accidents in Long Beach, California, and beyond. In incidents where serious injuries and/or fatalities occur, sometimes it’s all that victims and their families can do to hope that the law will be on their side and hold liable parties responsible. Unfortunately, though, authorities can be limited in their options to present and prosecute a case.

The family of a man who lost his life in a hit-and-run accident in the spring of last year filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man responsible for causing the incident. They also spoke out against prosecutors involved in the case, deeply disturbed over what they believed to be an excessively light sentence against the defendant.

Despite the fact that it is believed the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol when he struck the accident victim, law enforcement officers were never able to conduct DUI tests on Him because he fled the scene of the accident. Ultimately, the defendant conceded that he made poor judgment calls and pleaded guilty to vehicular involuntary manslaughter under intoxication and fleeing the scene of an injury accident. Consequently, the man was sentenced to a suspended seven-year prison term and four months in jail.

Several factors apparently contributed to difficulties in prosecuting the case. Despite the fact that the defendant’s girlfriend at the time apparently knew that he was drunk when the accident occurred, she never had to testify because she and the defendant later married. Beyond that, the defendant was represented by a well-known defense attorney.

Often times, wrongful death lawsuits hold liable parties accountable in a way that criminal proceedings cannot. Meeting with an attorney can help accident victims and their families understand their legal rights and explore options for gaining recognition and compensation.

Source: CBS3 Springfield, “Grieving family disgusted hit-and-run driver gets 120 days in jail,” July 12, 2014

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