A 52 year-old woman from Moreno Valley was killed early this morning in what is believed to have been a DUI related accident. According to a story in the Press Enterprise, the collision occurred on northbound Interstate 5 in Central California when the vehicle in which the victim, Shirley Ann Murphy, was riding was struck head-on by a Volkswagen Passat. The driver of the Passat, 49 year-old Wayne Boatwright of San Francisco, was driving south in the northbound lanes when the crash occurred. The collision reportedly occurred at about while Murphy was a passenger in a 2002 Ford Explorer driven by Charles Snyder of Moreno Valley. An 18 year-old passenger in the Passat, April Murphy, 18, sustained a fractured hip, severed liver and cuts to the face. Snyder complained of pain in his face, and another passenger, Donell M. Watts, 32, of Riverside, suffered neck pain. The injured were taken to Fresno Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where April Murphy and Boatwright remain. The CHP will seek felony DUI and manslaughter charges against Boatwright once he is released from the hospital.
See the Press Enterprise story HERE.
Assuming the description of the accident above is accurate, then it would appear Boatwright will have a lot to answer for, both in criminal and civil court. A DUI driver who causes death and other serious injuries can expect to be charged with manslaughter, at a minimum, and felony DUI. Any felony conviction arising from the accident may lead to certain preferential treatment for the victims and their families in a civil case. For example, in a civil action against a defendant based on conduct that has resulted in the defendant's conviction of a felony offense, the Legislature has eased the plaintiff's burdens by waiving filing fees (Government Code, § 70611), giving those actions calendar preference for trial setting (Code Civil Procedure, § 37), and allowing a prevailing plaintiff to recover attorney fees (C.C.P., § 1021.4). In this case, Murphy's family may be entitled to the benefit of these California statutes if Boatwright is convicted of a felony in relation to the accident. Under California law, the damages recoverable in that wrongful death case include compensation for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support Murphy would have provided.
Compensation for the victims and families of victims of DUI accidents should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver operates their vehicle in an extremely reckless manner while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and causes a serious or fatal accident, they should be held accountable. An Orange County personal injury attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years years of experience handling personal injury cases, including those involving DUI drivers. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in a DUI related accident?
Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.