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Wrongful death possible after crash with controlled substance use

Losing a loved one in an automobile accident is a traumatic experience. When the accident is caused by someone under the influence of an illegal substance, it becomes even more distressing for the surviving family members. A Wisconsin man was recently found guilty of vehicular homicide with a detectable amount of marijuana in his system. It was not reported whether wrongful death litigation has been pursued in civil court. 

In Oct. 2014, deputies reported that a Jeep Cherokee traveling near Fort Atkinson hit a tree at a high rate of speed after failing to make a curve. A 17-year-old passenger died at the scene of the accident. The driver, who claimed he was unfamiliar with the roads, was taken to a local hospital. There, he told police officers he had smoked marijuana earlier that evening. The State Crime Lab confirmed that his blood contained marijuana.

The driver had also faced another felony charge of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, but was found not guilty. The jury also found him not guilty of a misdemeanor charge of operating while intoxicated causing injury. Another felony charge of homicide by negligent operating of a vehicle was dismissed. However, the Wisconsin man faces up to 25 years in prison and a fine of $100,000 for his conviction.

While nothing can ease the pain of the horrific loss of a loved one, many Wisconsin families in similar situations consider filing a wrongful death claim. To help offset funeral costs or hospital expenses, families often seek monetary damages in a civil court. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide the necessary guidance to help with this complicated process.

Source:, "McFarland man found guilty of vehicular homicide after using controlled substance", Rob Schultz, Jan. 30, 2017

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