When an unintentional yet fatal accident occurs in Pennsylvania, prosecutors may charge the driver who caused the fatal accident with a variety of crimes. Some of these crimes include Homicide by Vehicle – DUI Related (75 Pa.C.S. § 3735) and Third Degree Murder (18 Pa.C.S. § 2502(c)).
Which charge they choose depends on a variety of factors. Was someone killed unintentionally by a drunk driver? Was someone so reckless and negligent they should have known someone was likely to die?
Regardless of the charge, knowing that someone’s actions were preventable makes these tragedies that much more painful.
Recent crashes involving murder charges
In February of 2017, multiple passengers in a vehicle were killed when a driver crashed going over 120MPH in a 40MPH work zone in West Pottsgrove. The DA is quoted in an article saying that the drivers involved in the wreck displayed a “sheer indifference to the value of human life”. The driver was charged with third degree murder.
In August 2017, on Route 611 in Bedminster Township, according to 6ABC police say a driver with a suspended license, multiple DUIs, driving while on amphetamine, oxycodone, and fentanyl crossed into oncoming traffic and hit someone head on resulting in their tragic death and severely injuring another passenger. The DUI driver was charged with third degree murder and also aggravated assault and homicide by vehicle while DUI.
Bucks County sees too many accidents like this one.
Can I still file a lawsuit?
After the death of a loved one, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the survivors and/or beneficiaries of the deceased. This is separate from any criminal charges.
If you have lost a loved one due to a reckless driver, it is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. If we can help, contact us today for a free consultation or visit our page about wrongful death. We are located in Philadelphia and assist clients in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.