More than seven years of fighting has proven successful for a Pennsylvania family who lost their young daughter in a 2004 car accident. The driver responsible for the past crash was a 21-year-old from Philadelphia who shouldn’t have been behind the wheel in the first place.
On the fateful August day, the driver crashed into a 14-year-old girl who was simply attempting to cross the street. Reports indicate that a combination of dangerous circumstances led to the crash, and driver’s negligence was indeed one of those dangers.
A Philadelphia news report says that the driver who hit the young victim was driving under the influence of alcohol that night. Not only was he reportedly driving drunk, but he was driving with a suspended license. Exactly why his license was suspended is undisclosed, though sources do indicate that the driver admitted that he’d been responsible for a hit-and-run in the past.
The suspected drunk driver had apparently not learned much from his past mistake and reportedly tried to flee the scene on his second time around. Ultimately, police apprehended and arrested him, and the driver later pleaded guilty to DUI and hit-and-run. A guilty plea in criminal court generally means that liability is easily assigned in a civil case.
The parents of the teen victim filed a wrongful death suit against the driver and also against the owner of the car he was driving. The judge presiding over the case recently ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding them nearly $3 million total in damages. For the criminal conviction, the driver is serving three to six years in prison.
No legal consequence, civil or criminal, can erase wrongdoing that has taken place. The loss is still real, but holding parties accountable for their actions is at least some semblance of justice and sends a message to society.
Phillyburbs.com: “Girl’s family awarded $2.9 million,” Laurie Mason Schroeder, Aug. 31, 2011