Sometimes a car accident may result in criminal charges against the person deemed responsible. While this can certainly be comforting to North Carolina families affected by the tragedy, occasionally the charges can be dropped. This could leave the families confused and searching for other avenues to hold that person legally responsible when the evidence suggests negligence. Situations like this one can be where a family decides to seek a civil lawsuit against the offender responsible for a car accident that has taken the life of a loved one.
At the request of the district attorney, a Wisconsin judge has dismissed two charges against a man allegedly responsible for a fatal motorcycle accident. The crash occurred when the man lost control of the vehicle he was driving. The vehicle hit gravel and ended up in the ditch, but the man claims not to remember the crash. His passenger died from her injuries.
The man was charged with driving while under the influence of an intoxicant and also operating with prohibited alcohol content. Although these charges were dismissed, the man could receive a citation for operating with a prohibited alcohol content, although that has not occurred yet. After the crash, his blood ethanol concentration was reported as 0.118. The state did not feel like it had enough to prove the man's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and decided the charges against him should be dismissed.
Cases like this can be disturbing because families of the victims may think he has gotten away with breaking the law. However, this is often when Wisconsin civil cases can come into play. The family of the passenger retains the legal right to file a civil claim against the driver, seeking to hold him civilly responsible for her death. The car accident report could help bolster any claims they make against him, and a successful case could result in a monetary award. While it won't change what happened, it could serve as a reminder that such behavior can be dealt with harshly in the courts, even when a criminal conviction is not pursued.
Source: Green Bay Press Gazette, "Judge dismisses homicide charges in fatal motorcycle crash," Nov. 24, 2012