When a person loses a loved one due to another’s negligence, often the only solace they receive is the knowledge that appropriate criminal action will be taken to ensure that no one else suffers at the hands of the same person. Unfortunately, two women in California claim that they will not receive this solace after a woman who caused a fatal accident while distracted by her cellphone will only face misdemeanor charges. However, as many others who have lost loved ones in bicycle and motorcycle accidents have done, justice can also be sought in the civil court.
The incident happened in Sept. 2015. According to reports, a 53-year-old man was riding his bicycle on a California roadway when police say that a young woman who was using her cell phone struck him. Reports indicate that she then overcorrected, swerving into oncoming traffic and slamming head-on into a motorcycle ridden by a 43-year-old man.
Although the California Highway Patrol recommended a charge of felony vehicular manslaughter, the district attorney filed misdemeanor charges. Despite allegations by police that she was on the phone at the time of the accident, the woman maintains that she was not distracted by her phone. She claims she was only on it several minutes prior to the accident.
The families of the two deceased men are left trying to pick up the pieces of their lives following their tragic loss. Their wives have expressed their shock that more serious charges were not filled. Fortunately, as others in California have done, the two women have the option of filing wrongful death lawsuits in a civil court. Other victims of fatal bicycle and motorcycle accidents who were able to successfully prove they were harmed as a result of another’s negligence have been awarded damages to help them cope with the financial consequences of their loss and receive some degree of closure.
Source: abc7.com, “CHP says Camarillo woman distracted by phone kills 2 people, gets misdemeanor“, Amy Powell, June 9, 2016