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Alaska woman could end up facing wrongful death claim

Car accidents can be tragic enough if both vehicles involved are the standard size. However, if an individual involved is driving a vehicle such as a motorcycle or ATV, the injuries can be much more severe. The lack of protection that these types of vehicles offer can often put the occupants at risk of serious injury. An Alaska woman may end up facing a wrongful death claim after a recent accident took the life of someone riding an ATV.

The accident took place in Nov. 2012 and involved an ATV and a standard vehicle. The investigations say that the driver of a car struck the ATV, which in turn killed the rider. It was suspected that the car driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. Apparently, subsequent lab testing was completed recently.

The results of the blood tests indicated that the driver of the car was under the influence of morphine and oxycodone at the time of the accident. A grand jury found that it was appropriate to charge the driver with a DUI and criminally negligent homicide. At last report, the accused woman, said to be 24 years old, remained in jail in lieu of bail in the sum of $10,000.

Regardless of whether the driver is found guilty of these criminal charges, the family of the deceased victim has the right to file a wrongful death civil claim in a civil court in Alaska. Compensation awarded from a successfully litigated lawsuit could be used to pay for any of the victim’s final expenses as well as for other financial damages sustained as a result of the fatal accident. It will first be necessary for the family to prove the woman negligently caused the accident and death which resulted before the court will consider the specifics of the claims for money damages. A monetary judgment could allow the family to focus on coming to terms with their tragic loss and healing their emotional wounds.

Source: frontiersman.com, "Woman charged with ATV driver's death", Andrew Wellner, July 3, 2014

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