Fatal Tennessee car accident might lead to wrongful death suit

A grand jury in Shelby County recently indicted a 24-year-old man from Cordova in relation to the part he played in a fatal car accident. The two-car accident took place last July. The man will be facing a criminal trial in Tennessee, charged with reckless endangerment as well as vehicular homicide. He might also face a wrongful death lawsuit.

According to authorities, the man had been pulled over earlier on the day the accident took place and was charged with a violation for driving with no proof of insurance. The violation is considered a misdemeanor for which there is a $100 fine, and Tennessee law currently does not allow officers to detain those who violate it. Accordingly, the man was issued a citation and then was allowed to continue on his way. It was only about seven hours later that the man caused a car accident that took another man's life.

The official report showed that he was driving again without insurance. Additionally, not only was he not wearing his seat belt, there was also a 6-year-old child that was unrestrained in the back seat of the car. According to an adult passenger in the man's vehicle, the driver had fallen asleep.

This case has incited Tennessee lawmakers to make changes to the financial responsibility law that would result in a new insurance verification program as well as to increase penalties for violations of the law. Though a step in the right direction, this offers little emotional recompense for the family of the deceased in question. However, apart from facing criminal charges, the driver could also potentially face a wrongful death claim in a Tennessee civil court. Any monetary damages awarded from a successful lawsuit could be used by the deceased victim's family to cover all end-of-life expenses and to help ease their pain and suffering.

Source: wmcactionnews5.com, "Shelby Co. grand jury indicts uninsured driver in fatal crash", Andy Wise, April 15, 2015

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