Last week a Missouri man received a heavy sentence for his role in a tragic car accident that he allegedly caused in September of 2011. He received a sentence of 10 years in prison for his role in the DWI crash that killed two people and injured five. The defendant pleaded guilty in November to the charges, which included two counts of involuntary manslaughter and five counts of second-degree assault.
Based on the evidence at the scene and witness accounts, the police estimate that the man was driving nearly 100 miles per hour when the collision occurred. His car rear ended the Chevy Tahoe, containing the two men and other passengers, which caused the Tahoe to flip over several times.
He received a 10 year sentence for each count of involuntary manslaughter and seven years for each of the five counts of second-degree assault. The 17 months which he has already served in jail will be counted as time served, and all of the sentences will be served concurrently.
The assistant prosecuting attorney in the case said that 10 years was the heaviest sentence he had ever seen in a DWI and involuntary manslaughter case, adding that, “Part of it was that he had a prior DWI, and the fact that he killed two people and injured five.” He also stated that under Missouri law, the man must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Although the outcome in this particular case addresses the sentencing reached as a result of the criminal justice system, the families in this case also likely have wrongful death claims against the driver in this tragic car accident.
In the state of Maryland, for example, the Maryland Wrongful Death Statute governs wrongful death claims. This type of lawsuit is brought by the victim’s surviving family members on their own behalf. The claim seeks to compensate the family members of the loss of the victim’s life and his or her companionship, love, and future financial support that the family would have continued to receive, had the other party not wrongfully caused the loved one’s death. Only certain family members are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Maryland law is somewhat unique in that there is no statutory cap on the amount of economic damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death suit. However, there is a cap for non-economic damages, which includes those factors such as loss of companionship.
The personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC has many years of experience in working with individuals and families who have suffered because of the wrongful death of a loved one. We have represented families who have lost loved ones as a result of wrongful deaths caused by medical malpractice, hospital negligence, car accidents, and other traumatic events. If you believe that your loved one died because of the wrongful or negligent actions of another, please contact us at 1-800-654-1949 or through our website for a free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Tragic Maryland Heights Mine Collapse Kills Employee, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published March 27, 2013
Maryland Legislators Debate Law That Would Help Dog Bite Victims, Maryland Accident Law Blog, published March 22, 2013