Filing a civil suit is not always just about receiving money. In one California family’s wrongful death suit, the plaintiffs simply wanted the jury and public to understand the pain they experienced when their 20-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. The family recently won the case, receiving an estimated $5.25 million award from a jury in San Bernardino Superior Court.
The couple’s 20-year-old daughter was killed in a tragic drunk driving accident in October 2009 as she sat in a vehicle on a roadside shoulder. The young woman had headed home early from a party, traveling with another friend. The car ran out of gas on Interstate 215 at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 23. Authorities report the pair had just finished refueling the vehicle when they were struck by an intoxicated driver. The victim in this case was thrown into the air, rolling across the other driver’s hood. Reports show the driver’s blood alcohol content registered at about 0.138 percent a full hour after the crash. The legal limit for driving drunk in the state of California is 0.08 percent.
Family members in this case were particularly irate because the driver was free without bond from the day of the accident until her trial began. The 23-year-old woman had initially pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges in the matter, but she changed that to a guilty plea after a jury deadlocked in her trial. The woman accepted a plea bargain that resulted in a three-year prison term, too short for the victim’s family.
In this case, the relatives of the decedent were able to extract additional punishment from the courts in the form of a civil judgment. If your loved one has been killed in an accident caused by someone else, you could also seek justice through the civil courts if the criminal courts have not rendered a reasonable judgment. Consult a qualified personal injury attorney to learn more about getting the money you need and deserve after a horrific accident.