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On Nov. 20, a Shelton, Connecticut, man pleaded guilty to the charge of negligent homicide for his role in a 2010 accident, when his pickup truck collided with a man’s motorcycle. The victim later died on Mar. 18, 2010. The family of the victim has filed a lawsuit against the man. Other victims of wrongful death cases should be aware of their legal rights to do the same.

The accident occurred in Shelton — about 45 miles from Hartford — at the intersection of Leavenworth and Walnut Tree Hill roads. The two vehicles were approaching each other when the pickup struck the motorcycle while attempting to make a left-hand turn. The victim was thrown from his motorcycle and later died at a hospital.

As part of his guilty plea, the man only had to pay a $75 fine. Within the next 13 months, however, it is possible for prosecutors to reinstate the guilty plea, but that action would be unlikely, the attorney for the victim’s estate said.

The victim’s estate filed a lawsuit against the man seeking $3.5 million in damages. The lawsuit is seeking damages for his death, any pain and suffering before his death, and the loss of time with his two children, who can no longer be provided for by their father. The estate’s lawyer says that the guilty plea in criminal court is admissible in the wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit could go to mediation before a trial date is ever reached.

The estate’s lawyer said the victim was not “vengeful,” and said it’s good that the driver admitted to being responsible for the man’s death.

And while they may not have wanted to see the man spend a considerable amount of time behind bars, the victim’s family needs to consider how to provide for his children. A wrongful death lawsuit is definitely warranted in situations such as this.

Source: New Haven Register, “Driver admits role in fatal Shelton crash,” Rich Scinto, Nov. 21, 2012

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