The drunk driver accused of killing a New Jersey man in a traffic accident two weeks ago has been charged with vehicular homicide.
According to police reports, the drunk driver was driving on Interstate 80 just across the state line in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania when he struck a pickup truck. The force of the collision caused the pickup truck to roll over and slide down an exit ramp.
The driver of the pickup died in the accident. His dog, a German shepherd, was also killed. A coroner's report showed that both the victim and his dog could easily have been saved if the drunk driver had rendered aid after the crash.
The accident was not the driver's first run-in with the law. Police say that he has an "extensive criminal history" and is currently on probation for federal drug charges.
The driver was charged with a number of offenses including DUI and homicide by vehicle. His bail was set at $200,000.
New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Hopefully, the criminal charges will help the victim's family achieve a measure of closure over the incident. However, it is important to note that a criminal case is not their only form of recourse.
In many cases, the families of victims of New Jersey fatal accidents can bring a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. While criminal charges are intended to punish the driver responsible for the accident, wrongful death lawsuits are intended to provide compensation for the financial and emotional losses the victim's loved ones have suffered.
Criminal charges are not a prerequisite to bringing a New Jersey wrongful death lawsuit. The victim's family may be able to sue even in cases where the at-fault driver's misconduct did not rise to the level of criminal activity.
If your loved one has been killed in a fatal traffic accident, a New Jersey personal injury lawyer can help you understand your options.