Yuma, AZ – Sometimes a serious accident will result in at least one victim passing away. In these situations, the driver at fault may also be charged with manslaughter or some similar crime for driving in such a manner that there would be a fatal result from their reckless behavior and an accident. There are often police reports involving these crimes, and the stories end up on local news in the area. Victims should be aware that civil lawsuits also offer remedies. 

Reasons for criminal charges after a fatal accident

A driver may be taken into custody by police after causing a fatal accident. They may illegally hit a pedestrian, they might leave the scene of the accident, or an investigation at the scene by a police officer may find that the person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The individual will usually be arrested or found a short time later during the investigation from law enforcement. 

Criminal versus civil cases against a reckless driver

Regardless of the state’s action against the suspect, victims and their families can bring civil cases against the person responsible for the collision. This may include cases for the person’s funeral and burial costs in a fatal collision, or other damages related to a situation where the person requires medical treatment or extensive repairs to their vehicle. The criminal charges do not affect the outcome of the civil case, but they can be presented as evidence of negligence, which is beneficial to the plaintiff. Something such as leaving the scene of an accident or a traffic infraction can help show that the defendant breached their standard duty of care while driving and caused harm to the victim. 

Arizona has a statute that allows the family members of any victim who passes away due to the negligent or intentional actions of another person or entity to bring a civil case on their behalf. Damages available include funeral and burial costs, the victim’s future lost wages and income, and emotional pain and suffering caused by the accident. 

Insurance consequences

While it is important to file an insurance claim after any collision, a civil accident case can potentially pay a family much more than an insurance claim in most situations. Usually the insurance process is meant to protect against vehicle damage and liability for the driver. 

Get assistance from a local lawyer

Victims can get more information about personal injury lawsuits and relevant steps to take after any motor vehicle incident from a licensed attorney in the Yuma area. Interested parties can speak with an experienced lawyer in the Yuma area at Schneider and Onofry. 

Firm contact info:

Schneider & Onofry, P.C.

207 W. 2nd St., Yuma AZ 85364



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