Car accidents can happen in an instant in the Bay Area; some are minor, but an unfortunate number lead to serious injury or even death. Drivers need to be alert at all times behind the wheel, which has become increasingly difficult given the wide range of distractions now available to drivers. If a driver fails to heed the warning, the unfortunate result could be a wrongful death.
Newly released information in a fatal accident that occurred last month appears to shed light on the responsible party in one such case. The California Highway Patrol had been investigating the circumstances of a hit-and-run accident that left a bicyclist dead and a family grieving. According to one witness, the bicyclist was struck by a passing vehicle, which did not stop at the scene. The bicyclist suffered severe head and other injuries, passing away hours later at the hospital.
Now, it appears the driver who struck the man has come forward to confess to authorities, who have filed charges against him. According to police, the man admitted to striking the cyclist - and attempting to cover up the act by filing a false insurance claim on the damage to his vehicle - after an investigation led them to seize the vehicle to collect evidence. The driver stated that he took his eyes off the road to view the center console of his vehicle, which led him onto the shoulder of the road and into the bicyclist. He now faces two felony charges, one related to the fatal accident and another for insurance fraud.
For their part, the family and friends of the deceased man are encouraging prosecutors to seek the maximum penalty for the alleged crime. However, while a criminal case can address issues of public safety, it will not help a grieving family deal with some other, very real consequences of an accident. Accidents caused by negligent drivers can lead to extensive medical bills, lost wages and in the case of death, funeral expenses.
Families of such victims can seek compensation related to the loss of a loved one through a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of money can replace a loved one's life, it can ease the financial burden and allow family and friends to focus on the path forward.
Source: OrovilleMR.com, "Gridley man charged in fatal hit-and-run crash," Katy Sweeny, Dec. 5, 2012