A man who was driving a car that was involved in a fatal 2019 crash in Acadia National Park has pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter in connection with the accident. According to a local news report discussing the legal proceedings, the man had been traveling at around 75 mph on Park Loop Road when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed. The driver was injured in the accident and three passengers who were riding in the vehicle died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The road the man was driving on has a posted speed limit of 25 mph, and he was found to have a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit after the accident.
The man was charged with DUI as well as three counts of manslaughter in connection with the crash. The charges were in question after the man’s attorney successfully argued a motion to suppress the blood test evidence against him in his criminal case. After an appeal by the state of Maine reversed the earlier decision barring evidence, the man decided to plead guilty to the charges against him. As part of the sentencing and restitution process, the families of the victims of his crime may receive some compensation from the defendant for causing their deaths, however, restitution is often woefully insufficient to compensate crime victims and their families.
In addition to criminal restitution, the families of the victims of this crime are entitled to seek damages through a wrongful death claim against the driver of the vehicle. In a wrongful death claim against a negligent or reckless driver, the auto insurance company is required to cover their client’s liability up to the policy limits for liability coverage. Pursuing a civil case in addition to criminal charges is often the best way for crime victims to seek compensation for their losses. The procedural rules that govern a wrongful death claim are more friendly to plaintiffs than in criminal cases, and the types of damages that can be awarded are broader.
Although the defendant in this case ultimately pleaded guilty to the charges against him, had the state of Maine lost its appeal of the evidentiary ruling that first jeopardized the charges, the man would likely have gone free. The failure of criminal charges against someone does not necessarily mean that a civil claim will fail as well. The burden of proof in a civil claim is more favorable to the plaintiff, as well as the application of the rules of evidence and procedure. Persons who are hurt or killed by a reckless driver who was acquitted of any criminal charges still may have a civil claim against the driver.
Finding the Right Maine Wrongful Death Attorney
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a Maine car accident, the civil attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates for assistance. Our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers have years of experience representing clients in all types of negligence claims, including fatal car accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice. Our experienced legal team will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 1-800-804-2004 or reach out to us through our website.