In the aftermath of a tragic loss, Pennsylvania families cope in different ways. For some, the process involves a slow path from shock and grief to eventual acceptance of their loss. For others, the grieving process is stalled by a deep rooted need for a sense of justice in the matter. In cases in which a fatal accident is caused by the negligence of another party, feelings of injustice surrounding the event can have lasting negative effects on the normal process of grief and recovery.
For one family, the long path toward justice may have ended with a recent sentencing hearing. The family lost their 23-year-old loved one when he was killed in a hit-and-run car crash in July 2012. Police assert that a 27-year-old male driver struck the young man, and then made a conscious decision to flee the scene of the accident without stopping to render aid.
In a recent court appearance, the driver entered a guilty plea and accepted sentencing in the matter. He will spend between 15 and 30 months in prison for his role in the death. That sentence exceeds the Pennsylvania mandatory minimum of one year due to the fact that the driver was operating a vehicle without a valid license.
For the family of the victim, the recent Pennsylvania sentencing may bring some degree of relief, and could lead to a sense of closure to their pain brought on by this fatal accident. However, they retain the option of pursuing a wrongful death action against the driver, should they feel that a successful suit would bring an additional measure of justice in the matter. In doing so, information gleaned from the criminal proceeding could be used to prove negligence on the part of the responsible party.
Source: The Sentinel, “Man gets 15 to 30 months in fatal Pa. hit-run,” Jan. 16, 2013