Lee M. Schwalben, M.D., J.D., LLC
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Man charged with vehicular homicide in fatal accident

Here in Louisiana, when a driver is suspected of being impaired and is believed to have caused an accident in which a victim dies, he or she can be charged with vehicular homicide even if there was no intent to kill. When a driver is impaired, the probability of a fatal accident increases exponentially. Furthermore, alcohol and drug-related accidents are considered to be some of the most preventable crashes. 

At approximately 10 p.m. on Christmas day, a 45-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed. Police suspected the 26-year-old man who was driving the vehicle involved in the accident of being impaired. After preliminary tests were conducted to determine whether the driver was impaired, policed placed him under arrest. When he was booked into the jail, at least one of the charges listed was vehicular homicide.

While officials complete the investigation and gather additional evidence such as the results of a blood alcohol test, a family is dealing with the loss of a loved one. The holiday season may never be the same for the victim's family. Also, the financial impact on his surviving family members could be significant.

Evidence gathered in the criminal proceedings could also be used as evidence of negligence in a wrongful death claim filed in connection with this fatal accident. If the family is able to establish that the driver's actions were negligent, a Louisiana civil court could consider awarding damages. Any monetary restitution received could help with the financial losses sustained in the aftermath of the death of their loved one.

Source: nola.com, "Suspected drunk driver hit pedestrian in fatal Christmas night crash, NOPD says", Emily Lane, Dec. 26, 2015