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Fatal car accident: Stevens Point man pleads no contest

Driving a car in Wisconsin is the same as operating any other potentially dangerous piece of machinery. Drivers cannot allow themselves to be distracted and must make efforts to avoid any dangerous situations on the road. Texting while driving is a particularly dangerous and illegal practice that can lead to a fatal car accident. In such a case, there are laws that apply in both criminal and civil courts.

This month, a 23-year-old man from Stevens Point pleaded no contest to a charge of second-degree reckless homicide stemming from a fatal auto accident that occurred on Dec. 6, 2010. The young man admitted that he had been texting while driving when he failed to stop at a stop sign in Wood County.

His SUV crashed into a car and then collided with another SUV, killing its driver. The Stevens Point man could now be sentenced to prison for up to 25 years.

Even when a driver is subject to criminal penalties for causing a fatal car accident, the victim's surviving family members may be entitled to compensation through a civil court filing. A wrongful death lawsuit can help the family of a deceased victim receive compensation for any medical bills, lost wages and funeral expenses resulting from the crash.

In Wisconsin, there are laws specifically designed to protect the family of anyone killed because of another person's negligence. When a negligent driver is convicted of crime related to the accident, any civil claim against the driver can be considerably strengthened. However, insurance companies and at-fault drivers will do what they can to shirk responsibility, and the family will need legal assistance to obtain the full amount of compensation that is due.

Source: TMJ 4: "Plea deal reached in fatal Wood County crash," Sept. 4, 2012

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