When a car accident causes injury, the person who is liable for causing the crash can be subject to two types of legal penalties. One penalty is based upon violation of a criminal law while the other deals with civil penalties which come from the victim or the family of the victim suing the party who they believe to be at fault. Those looking to sue as a result of car accidents should pay close attention to the criminal trial, since much of the evidence and testimony can also be used in a personal injury lawsuit filed in civil court in Hawaii.
This is what may happen in a recent case in Hawaii surrounding a car crash which occurred in Nov. 2011. A 24-year-old male driver had accidentally entered the freeway heading in the opposite direction of traffic. Apparently, thieves had stolen the lighting from the highway in order to obtain copper for resale. This played a significant role in the driver being confused.
The man crashed into another vehicle being driven by a 40-year-old male motorist. The head-on collision, which occurred early in the morning, resulted in the death of the 40-year-old driver. In the criminal trial the judge ordered the defendant to pay the mother of the decedent more than $11,000 in restitution to cover funeral costs. Although the family of the decedent had asked the judge to sentence the defendant to the maximum of five years in prison, the judge instead gave the man four years of probation.
On the other hand, the family of the decedent will still have a chance to obtain some amount of justice by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court in Hawaii. This option is available for other families who may have experienced losses in car accidents such as this one. Although nothing can bring back the lost life, the family may still at least be able to obtain additional monetary reimbursement by prevailing in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “Wrong-way driver gets probation in fatal H-2 crash”, Nelson Daranciang, Aug. 27, 2014