When an adult drives a vehicle with children as passengers, a responsibility exists to transport the children safely to their destination. When such a driver is suspected of being intoxicated and causing a fatal accident, legal action is likely to follow. An Ohio mother recently lost her 16-year-old son in an accident and has now filed a wrongful death claim against a man who drove the vehicle in which her son was a passenger.
Police reported that a 41-year-old man traveled at a speed of 80 mph in an area where the speed limit was 65 mph. In the car with him was his son and two other minors. The driver apparently failed to control the vehicle and smashed into a guardrail. While the driver, his child and one minor survived the crash, the impact of the accident apparently caused the 16-year-old student who was sitting on the rear seat to be ejected. He was taken to a local hospital but succumbed to his injuries and subsequently died.
No criminal charges have been filed against the driver to date with respect to the March 9 accident. However, the authorities reportedly suspect that alcohol, excessive speed and failure to ensure that his minor passengers were restrained by seat belts were contributing factors to the accident and the subsequent death of the student. The civil lawsuit filed by the boy’s mother alleges that the driver drove at a speed that was inappropriate for the circumstances and unreasonably failed to control his vehicle. He is also accused of driving while intoxicated.
Ohio parents who have lost children due to the actions of a suspected drunk driver retain the right to litigate wrongful death claims in a civil court. The mother in this particular case has requested a jury trial and seeks monetary damages exceeding $25,000, along with punitive damages and related relief. If she is able to establish her allegations against the driver by a preponderance of the evidence, the court will adjudicate the claims for financial relief. If the man is charged and subsequently convicted in criminal court, proof of that may further support the mother’s claim in civil court.
Source: fox19.com, “Mother of Amelia High student killed in crash files lawsuit“, Paul Mckibben, March 24, 2014