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Charges possible in fatal Massachusetts car accident

Many in the community of Whitman, Massachusetts have waited for over a month to find out whether authorities would seek charges in connection with a tragic pedestrian accident that killed one man and left a 4-year-old girl injured. That wait was ended by the recent announcement that authorities are pursuing charges against the driver who struck the pair as they crossed a local street.

The car accident took place in early September. A 38-year-old man was walking across the street with his girlfriend's daughter, who was riding her bicycle. A pickup truck, driven by a 46-year-old man, struck the two. The man died as a result of injuries sustained during the impact. The child suffered severe injuries in the incident, but survived.

The charges sought against the driver include vehicular homicide, speeding, operating to endanger and failure to yield to a pedestrian. The next step in the legal process is for a clerk-magistrate to make the determination on whether those charges will be issued.

Criminal charges are intended to deter and punish prohibited behavior. While a conviction may provide some satisfaction to accident victims and their families, it does not give them the compensation they may need to cover the costs associated with car crashes.

Accident victims and their families have the right to file personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against negligent parties. These civil actions seek the compensation that can defray medical bills, rehabilitative therapy, lost wages and, in the most tragic cases, end-of-life expenses. It is important that victims know their rights to seek compensation from any parties involved, including insurance companies.

Source: Boston.com, "Mass. police to charge driver in fatal accident," Oct. 19, 2012

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