A young man was recently sentenced in criminal court for his role in a Georgia motor vehicle accident that killed a 16-year-old girl and injured two others. He pleaded guilty to the charges of buying alcohol for minors and leaving the scene of a deadly car crash last year. As a consequence, he will serve at least nine years in prison for the fatal accident. With the criminal trial now concluded, the family of the deceased victim and the injured parties may consider pressing civil claims for wrongful death and personal injury, respectively.
The tragic incident occurred during the winter of 2011. According to a local news report, the young man, who is 22 years old, was a passenger in the vehicle, along with the teenaged driver and at least two others. Prior to the accident, though, he had provided alcohol to minors, including the underage driver.
The accident happened after the driver lost control of the vehicle. In the aftermath of the incident, the 22-year-old fled the scene. He was later charged with homicide in the first degree and serious injury by vehicle, but a plea bargain was negotiated with the county attorney. The owner of the store where the 22-year-old man bought the alcohol has also been charged for selling the products.
In this case, the deceased driver’s family may be able to file a Georgia wrongful death suit against the young man and any others whose negligence caused or contributed to the fatal accident. Likewise, the two injured passengers might consider bringing a personal injury claim to recover damages for their injuries.
In addition, similar civil claims may also be brought against the owner of the store. This case raises the important point that it’s not just the parties directly involved in an accident that can be held liable in civil court. Individuals whose negligence contributed, in some way, to injury or death can be held accountable for their actions.
Source: My FOX Atlanta, “Man Pleads Guilty in Deadly Accident That Killed a Douglas County Teen,” Julia Reynolds, April 11, 2012