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Criminal justice and wrongful death lawsuits

After a drunk driver causes a shocking fatal accident, the public looks to the criminal justice system to restore a sense of safety and see that justice is done. Families of the victims often feel this need for justice most acutely, but the criminal justice system does not always provide them with what they need.

Connecticut music fans no doubt heard the news of a deadly accident at the famous South by Southwest festival. At least two people were killed and 23 injured when police said a drunk driver fleeing police drove through a barricade into a crowd of people outside a nightclub.

The long-running festival attracts thousands of music lovers from Connecticut and all over the world as hundreds of acts compete for attention, playing shows in Austin, Texas. The accident happened on a street that is home to many nightclubs and gathers large crowds during the festival. Witnesses said they saw bodies flying in the air as the driver came speeding past the barricade.

Police said the driver eventually crashed his car and tried to flee on foot before a police officer subdued him with a stun gun. He reportedly will face two charges of murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.

No one doubts the importance of the criminal justice system's role after a shocking death, but a criminal trial often provides families of the victims with little in the way of emotional relief. And it typically does nothing to help them with the monetary damages that come with a wrongful death.

Families of those killed in an accident caused by another driver's negligence or intentional misconduct may be compensated for their damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits can help families to cope with the loss of wages and other monetary damages that come with the sudden wrongful death of a loved one. They can be as important as the criminal justice system in making sure that negligent drivers are held accountable for their actions. A Connecticut attorney with experience in these sensitive cases can help grieving families to understand how these legal actions work and advise them on their options.

Source: CTPost.com, "Police: 1 man, 1 woman died at South by Southwest," Will Weissert and Chris Talbott, March 13, 2014

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