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Guilty pleas help establish fault in civil car accident claims

Filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim here in Ohio often involves providing proof that another person's negligent or reckless actions led to the serious or fatal injuries suffered. Determining what constitutes the appropriate evidence in these cases may come from a variety of sources. For instance, if a driver pleads guilty to crimes associated with a car accident, that information may be used as evidence in a civil claim.

The families of two teenagers killed in a crash in May 2017, along with the seriously injured surviving teen, may now have this type of evidence, which they may use in a civil claim filed in connection therewith. The 25-year-old woman who was driving the vehicle that hit the three teenage pedestrians recently pleaded guilty to vehicular assault, two counts of involuntary manslaughter and attempted evidence tampering. Her sentencing hearing is currently scheduled for June 15.

The 15-year-old boy and the two 14-year-old girls were walking alongside South Main Street in Coventry Township at the time of the accident. The woman's vehicle left the road and struck all three. The three had no time to get out of the path of the vehicle.

As would be the case in any lawsuit arising out of a car accident, the guilty plea may be used as evidence that the woman's actions caused the deaths and serious injuries suffered. If this and other evidence proves to an Ohio civil court that negligence and/or recklessness occurred, then an award of damages could follow. Any restitution received as a result of such an award could help cover unexpected financial losses and perhaps provide grieving families with a sense of justice and closure.

Source: fox8.com, "Woman pleads guilty in Coventry Township crash that killed two teens", Jen Steer, March 30, 2018

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