Q: Can I still sue for personal injury if the driver who hit me goes to jail?
Some of the leading causes of California car accidents include drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding, and more. When someone’s negligent or reckless behavior results in the personal injury or wrongful death of another, the victim or their close surviving family members may have grounds to recover damages through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
In order to recover though, they must be able to prove that the defendant’s actions caused or contributed to the injuries or death.
Generally, the damages a victim can recover may include medical expenses, future medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering and more. In particularly egregious cases or where someone intentionally injures someone else, victims may be entitled to punitive damages. In such cases, the defendants might also be subject to criminal charges.
One such example is the case of a former Melrose Place actress who was convicted of “vehicular manslaughter, assault by auto, and other offenses” after crashing her SUV into the car of a husband-and-wife–killing the wife and seriously injuring the husband. The fatal crash occurred minutes after the actress allegedly rear-ended and fled from another vehicle whose angered driver then followed and honked at her. Criminal trial testimony and prosecution statements indicated the actress was driving “with a blood alcohol level nearly 3 times the legal limit”.
Although the actress was released in 2015 after serving 2 1/2 years of a three-year sentence, a long-standing dispute over the propriety of her original criminal sentence has recently been resolved. Reportedly, the actress faced a sentencing range of 5 to 10 years, but was only sentenced to three years. Prosecutors had sought a 7-year sentence.
When the judge was ordered by a higher court to explain the downgraded sentence, he reportedly “conceded he erred” and should’ve sentenced her to additional time. But because the actress was deemed not to be a threat to society, the judge decided not to send her back to prison. She reportedly does still face a federal lawsuit related to the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one has been killed in any kind of accident that was not your fault, the personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the J&Y Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve so you can begin to put the pieces of your life back together. Call us at 888-806-6722 for a free consultation and to discuss your case in greater detail.
We represent clients throughout California and nationwide from our offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Rancho Cucamonga, Sacramento, and San Francisco.