When a truck crash results in criminal charges related to leaving the scene, the victim can still file a civil lawsuit to be compensated for their problems once the suspect has been identified.
A deadly hit and run truck accident occurred in Otisville, New York just west of Middletown.
Mother killed while walking down the street at night near Middletown
The victim was walking on State Street in Otisville to return home from a grocery store in the area. At around 11:15 pm, the suspect was traveling eastbound in his truck when he struck her. His Chevy Silverado pickup truck likely killed the woman on impact or shortly after, but he did not stop to call for help or check on her. The victim’s body was not found until almost eight hours later near an auto repair shop in the area. She was a 34 year old mother of three.
A low resolution security camera captured pieces of the incident, which allowed local police to identify the suspect about a month later. At trial, the suspect claimed he thought he had hit a deer and asked for leniency based on his lack of a prior criminal record. The judge commented that there is no way to know exactly what happened that night, but the suspect knew he hit something and should have stopped.
The suspect was sentenced in Orange County Court, and he will serve between one and three years in prison for a felony charge for leaving the scene of an accident.
Lawsuits after truck accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are usually followed by civil lawsuits that allow a victim to ask for compensation related to medical treatment, lost wages, property damage and other problems. Negligence cases are the most common type of civil case used by lawyers in this situation, but deadly accidents are handled somewhat differently.
Wrongful death claims
This accident involved a fatality. Accidents that result in death are covered under the wrongful death statute in each state. This is a way of allowing certain family members to stand in the place of the deceased person and file a claim to be compensated for funeral expenses, the person’s lost future earnings, and emotional trauma tied to the incident. The wrongful death statute in New York gives specific details about who can file a case on the deceased person’s behalf and what kind of damages they may claim. The statute of limitations to file the case is only two years in New York, which means it is best to contact a lawyer shortly after a fatal accident.
Related criminal cases
There were also criminal charges tied to this accident for leaving the scene of an accident. Whether or not the state decides to file a criminal case, the victim can still file their own civil case to ask for monetary damages. Even if they are tied to the same incident, criminal and civil cases are handled separately and the outcome of one does not necessarily affect the other.
Speak to an expert truck accident attorney in your area
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Middletown or nearby parts of New York, you can talk to a lawyer about the possibility of filing a lawsuit. Isseks and Smith are available to assist clients in the Orange County area.