A teenage driver who did not have a license slammed into a pickup truck at such high speed that she ripped the vehicle in half. The wreck happened on Monday night in Burien, Washington. Three other people were riding in the 15-year-old driver’s BMW. The driver of the pickup truck and a 7-year-old passenger were hurt in the crash. Two of the four people in the pickup truck were also injured.
Police are investigating the 15-year-old driver for DUI and vehicular assault. They have not yet released details of why she had access to the car or why other teenagers were riding with her.
What should injury victims do after a serious accident?
After an accident involving a criminally negligent driver, police will conduct a criminal investigation. They may charge the driver for vehicular assault or driving under the influence. These cases play out in the criminal court system. Injured victims may be asked to testify about the behavior of the accused criminal or the severity of their injuries. While some judges may order criminals to pay restitution, they are usually expected to pay fines; these monetary punishments usually go to the state, not to injured victims.
Often, victims of violent crimes have severe injuries that require them to take time off work, pay for surgeries or other expensive medical procedures, hire people to help them with tasks they used to be able to do on their own, or pay for other expenses that they incurred due to their injuries. The state of Washington has a Crime Victims Compensation fund that can help the victims of violent crimes pay for some of those expenses.
In some vehicular assault or homicide cases, victims may also be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver. These cases take place in civil, not criminal, court; victims are usually paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance, not from their personal assets. The goal in these cases is usually the recovery of damages, not the further punishment of the at-fault driver. These cases are handled by civil attorneys who are familiar with personal injury claims.