Three separate accidents in Ohio County, West Virginia over the course of two days have claimed three lives and left one person in critical condition. Two of the accidents were rear-end collisions, and one car accident was a head-on collision. Only one of the accidents has resulted in criminal charges.
The first accident occurred when a suspected drunk driver slammed into the back of another car. One woman in the vehicle he hit died, and the other is in critical condition in an area hospital. The alleged drunk driver was arrested and has been charged with DUI causing death and DUI causing injury. The victims, or their family, have the right to file civil action against the driver.
The second accident involved the death of two women who somehow ended up heading the wrong way down the highway in the early morning hours and collided with a truck. The driver of the tractor trailer did not suffer serious injuries. The families of the two women have been notified.
The third accident occurred as a crew was cleaning up the diesel fuel left behind by the second accident. An SUV rear-ended a pickup truck causing it to spin and ram into a guard rail. The driver of the pickup truck was taken to an area hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.
In West Virginia, an injured party has the right to file a personal injury claim, and in the case of a death, the family may file a wrongful death action. If a party files a personal injury claim or wrongful death claim in connection with a car accident and proves that another party was negligent in a manner that caused either injury or death, the prevailing party may recover expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, and other allowable out-of-pocket expenses. It remains to be seen what, if any, civil litigation will follow these accidents. One thing is certain: the lives of a number of people have been inalterably changed as a result of these tragic incidents.
Source: Wheeling News-Register, "Three Dead In Two Crashes," Heather Ziegler, Nov. 13, 2012