A criminal investigation will often stem from a police investigation into a car accident. Although in many cases a Nevada fatal car accident will bring with it criminal charges against the driver of the vehicle alleged to have caused the accident, there are times when confusion can arise as to who was actually behind the wheel. This can throw a wrench into any civil investigation for a potential suit, but in most cases, is not a determining factor on whether such a case can be filed.
In a recent criminal case, Nevada police have stated that DNA evidence has cleared an 18-year-old man who was alleged to have been behind the wheel of a car that rear ended a van. The collision killed five individuals in the van. Police stated that the man had an alcohol content above the legal limit.
Police now say that a 23-year-old man was the driver. Police did not gather an alcohol test at the time of the crash because they believed that the younger man was driving. It is unclear whether police will bring charges against the newly identified driver.
Although the Nevada criminal case may have unraveled, this does preclude a wrongful death suit from being filed by the victims and their families. This suit, which requires a different standard of proof then a criminal case, may allow the families to collect compensation that can assist them in securing their finances as they try and work beyond this terrible tragedy. Although this will not start to alleviate the grief associated with their loss, it will at least give them a chance to focus on their recovery instead of how they will manage the wide range of finical issues that may arise as a result of this car accident.
Source: komonews.com, “DUI case unravels in Nevada crash that killed 5,” Ken Ritter, July 10, 2013