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Negligent Drivers May be Responsible for Safety of Passengers in Car Accidents

A Georgia motorist, Dominic Moceri, was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a fiery car crash that claimed the life of his female passenger six years ago. The Athens man was found guilty of homicide after his attempts to outrun police following an attempted traffic stop culminated in him crashing into a utility pole. Brenna Garrison, a 26-year-old separated mother of young two children and former University of Georgia accountant, was fatally ejected from the car after the violent impact sheared off the passenger’s side of the vehicle. Prosecutors said she had been wearing her seatbelt at the time.

According to the Athens Banner-Herald, the pursuing officer’s dashboard camera captured the events as they unfolded – and the tape was subsequently played for the jury at trial. The officer had witnessed Moceri driving erratically only moments before the car accident. While some might claim the video was prejudicial, experienced plaintiff’s personal injury attorneys can see the benefit in allowing the jury to see exactly what happened. Prosecutors theorized that Moceri, who had just recently begun to date the victim, fled from the police because he believed he was legally drunk. At the time of trial, however, Moceri blamed the accident on a defect in his BMW that caused him to accelerate suddenly. It was a defense that did not fly with jurors, especially once they saw the dashboard tape.

Garrison’s husband, who continues to care for the couple’s children, always believed that he and his wife would have reconciled, had she lived. If he and/or other family members so choose, in addition to the criminal proceedings, they may elect to file a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging negligence on Moceri’s part.

How will Garrison’s car accident lawyers go about proving such a case? The truth of the matter is that all drivers assume a “reasonable amount of care” when operating a vehicle. This means they must look out for the safety of others and abide by traffic laws to the best of their ability.

When there is an avoidable violation of any kind that results in the injury of a passenger, it may be said that the driver has violated his duty of care and that the violation of that duty resulted in the harmful or fatal auto accident. A wrongful death claim therefore arises, because the death of the decedent may be attributed to the wrongful act or negligence of another party.

While no amount of money can adequately recompense a family member for the premature and tragic loss of a loved one in cases like these, damages sought will typically include both economic and non-economic elements. A large bulk of the economic component is calculated by estimating the wages the decedent would have earned over the course of his or her expected lifetime. Intangible, non-economic losses can be more difficult to estimate, but the age of the decedent often plays a factor. Although a premature death is tragic no matter the victim’s age, the remaining life expectancy for younger persons is generally longer, allowing for consideration of a larger economic damage award.

Filing a wrongful death suit can be a harrowing ordeal, especially if the family members know the at-fault driver personally. If your loved one has perished as the result of someone else’s negligence, t is important to select a skilled wrongful death lawyer to assist you with your claims.