An elderly Prichard, Alabama man is appealing his prison sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the July, 2011 car accident death of a Mobile pedestrian. As with many other drunk driver accidents, the now convicted man was sentenced to jail. If the surviving family of the deceased woman chooses to do so, the criminal conviction may form the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.
At the time of the fatal accident, the Alabama man was apparently on medication that should not have been taken in combination with alcohol. The woman was pinned under the man's truck as she was walking on a city block at about 5:30 in the afternoon. The victim's daughter said her mother did not even see the truck coming.
The now convicted man remains free on bail, even though he was sentenced to serve two years of his 14-year sentence. The remaining years were suspended, though he could be returned to prison if he subsequently violates the terms of his three years of probation. The deceased woman's daughter expressed satisfaction with the criminal court's ruling, though she was frustrated that the man will remain free while the sentence is appealed.
Regardless of the result of the criminal appeal, the victims;' surviving family members may move ahead with a wrongful death lawsuit if they wish. Proof of the manslaughter conviction may be offered as evidence of liability in a related civil proceeding. If the family is successful in establishing the man's negligent actions in their civil claim, they may be eligible for reimbursement of monetary damages sustained. The first step in any wrongful death lawsuit regarding drunk driver accidents is a close examination of all evidence from the accident to determine the appropriate legal steps necessary to perfect a claim.
Source: al.com, "Prichard man sentenced to two years for fatal accident that killed pedestrian," Brendan Kirby, May 8, 2013