It is never easy to suffer the loss of a loved one, especially in what seems to be a preventable type of tragedy. Recently, an Iraq war veteran pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault in connection with a fatal car accident which claimed the lives of two women. Each family member who suffered the loss of a loved one in this Missouri accident undoubtedly feels that this crash should never have happened since the veteran was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time it occurred.
In fact, the man’s blood-alcohol content was tested at over two times the Missouri legal limit in the wake of the catastrophic collision. At a recent court hearing, a judge ordered that the veteran must undergo treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder before he can be sentenced for the crimes. Once he finishes treatment, the judge will make a decision on whether the man should be given five years in prison for each criminal allegation. Additionally, the judge will consider whether any such sentences should be served concurrently or consecutively.
Whatever decision that judge reaches, there is little doubt that the relatives left behind mourn the loss of their loved ones. One of the women who died was 57 years old, while the other was 85. It is likely that each left behind family and friends who now feel a sense of loss that these women will no longer be part of their lives.
In such fatal car accidents, relatives who have suffered the loss of a loved one have the right to file wrongful death lawsuits against a drunk driver. Missouri personal injury law recognizes the right of such relatives to receive civil compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one, based upon evidence of negligence. While it cannot restore a person to life, it can at least help ease the financial suffering of a family already dealing with a great deal of grief.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Missouri soldier who pleaded guilty in fatal crash to undergo PTSD program,” Nov. 28, 2012