In the aftermath of a fatal accident, a victim's family is often devastated and desperate for answers as to what happened. People who are killed in accidents cannot fight for justice themselves, which is why it is up to their families to take action against the party responsible. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, families can pursue not only compensation, but a sense of justice as well.
It is disappointing when a person gets a slap on the wrist or jail sentences that seem inadequate to people who have lost a loved one because of someone else's reckless behavior. This is why many families of fatal accident victims choose to pursue a civil case in addition to any criminal charges that may have also been filed. This is because often times, criminal charges may simply not be enough to punish unlawful behavior.
People in New York were outraged when a convicted drunk driver who killed a young woman on a skateboard was sentenced to less than a year in jail. Police claimed that the driver, who is also a doctor, was not only drunk at the time, but also texting and speeding when he crashed into the 18-year-old woman. He also reportedly left the scene of the accident without stopping to help the fatally-wounded victim.
The man was convicted of misdemeanor DWI and only spent about nine months in jail. He was recently released. Many people could argue that he escaped any serious penalties for his extremely reckless behavior that cost one woman her life. In similar cases, family members of a person who is killed because of this type of negligence choose to pursue civil charges against the party responsible. The money can be helpful in covering the costs associated with medical bills, funeral expenses and other damages. However, it can also be quite effective in further punishing a person for extremely negligent behavior.
Source: The Republic, "NY doctor convicted of drunken driving in fatal hit-and-run accident released from jail," April 12, 2013