In Louisiana, accidents involving a fatality require law enforcement officials to obtain a blood sample to determine whether a driver was under the influence. Because it can take some time for the results of these tests to come back, charges may not be contemplated until a later date. In other cases, an individual suspected of being responsible for an accident may have suffered serious injuries that required hospitalization. Accordingly, an arrest may be delayed. For example, a man was only recently arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, DWI and careless operation in connection with a fatal accident that occurred back in March.
At around 2 p.m. on March 21, the man now in custody lost control of his vehicle leading to a single-car accident. His 49-year-old passenger suffered severe injuries and did not survive the crash. The 24-year-old driver suffered serious injuries for which he was hospitalized.
During that time, a toxicology sample taken from him was sent for testing. The results indicated that he was intoxicated at the time of the accident. A judge issued an arrest warrant, and the man was voluntarily taken into custody on April 17.
Families of fatal accident victims are not required to await test results or the completion of an official investigation before filing wrongful death claims. The burden of proof in civil actions, referred to as a preponderance of the evidence, is not as stringent as that required in criminal cases. Therefore, establishing that a party or parties were negligent in a manner that caused the death of a loved one may not be as difficult as proving a criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt may be for prosecutors. If negligence is proved in civil court, a Louisiana judge may consider an award of damages to the grieving family consistent with prevailing wrongful death laws.
Source: sulphurdailynews.com, “Starks man charged with vehicular homicide for March crash”, April 17, 2015