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Fatal pedestrian accident yields misdemeanor charges

Recently in Layton, Utah, two high school students, a boy and a girl, both age 17, were reportedly struck by a pickup truck while in a crosswalk near their school. The girl was also struck by an SUV that trailed the pickup. The girl's injuries proved fatal while the boy suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.

According to a spokesman for the Layton City Attorney's Office, the driver of the pickup truck, a 32-year-old man, was reaching down to pick up an object he had dropped when he hit the students. The SUV, driven by a 38-year-old woman, then ran over the girl.

Both of the drivers were later charged in court with careless driving, which is a class C misdemeanor. The spokesman for the city attorney's office stated that in Utah, charges in such cases are not affected by the death of a victim. The primary consideration is the intent of the accused.

What is examined is whether a person's negligent actions constituted a gross deviation from the manner in which motorists typically operate a vehicle. Only if there appears to have been a gross deviation from normal driving would such charges be elevated to the felony level.

Regardless of how you may feel about the state's policy of not elevating charges in cases where acts of negligent driving cause fatalities, the fact is that the onus often falls on a victim's family to pursue some further measure of justice. This includes seeking compensation.

The loss of a loved one in an auto-pedestrian accident is an extremely difficult thing for a family to come to grips with. Making matters more difficult, are the expenses that must be covered to pay for a funeral as well as medical expenses that have resulted if the victim received treatment.

If you are dealing with having lost a family member due to the acts of a negligent driver, you may want to have a personal injury attorney act on your behalf in the pursuit of compensation.

Source: Desert News, "2 drivers charged in fatal Layton auto-pedestrian accident," ¬†Pat Reavy, Mar. 30, 2016

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