A woman from the San Francisco area who had no prior criminal history was sent to prison to serve a six-year term for her role in a deadly car accident from several years ago. In both the civil and criminal court systems, it can sometimes take years or even decades to sort out the legal consequences of a car accident.
The accident claimed the life of a teenage boy and also left the boy's mother with permanent injuries. The boy's sister was also injured but has since made a strong recovery.
The woman reportedly was driving a Mercedes well over the speed limit on the neighborhood streets of the San Francisco area. She was reportedly also weaving through traffic. She smashed in to the van in which the boy was a passenger, causing it to collapse. Other vehicles were also damaged.
The woman got convicted of the charges against her by a jury last summer. Her charges included an allegation of vehicular manslaughter. While the woman admits to causing the accident, she denied that she did so on purpose or recklessly.
Although the woman is now facing criminal consequences for her actions, a criminal case does not mean that the victims will get compensation for their losses. In fact, it may be more difficult to do so since the woman who caused the accident has been sent to prison and, presumably, is not going to be able to earn income.
To get compensation, the family may need to file a wrongful death action against the driver or, as appropriate, make a claim against the driver's insurance company. The family may be able to get damages for lost wages, medical bills, lost earning potential and non-economic damages. Punitive damages may be available as well.