A San Tan Valley accident left one woman dead after she accepted a ride with a 21-year-old man from a bar. Allegedly, the man was speeding when he lost control of his car and hit a fence. The car rolled over, and as the fire department arrived, it caught fire and exploded.
A deputy says the man tried to bribe him at the accident scene. According to reports, the man is also wanted in Texas, and as a result, he gave a false name at first. The man was charged with false reporting to a law enforcement agency, bribery and manslaughter. He may also face alcohol-related charges once the result of a blood test is returned.
If an individual dies in an accident like this one, the individual's family may want to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The family will need to establish that the responsible party was negligent and demonstrate the material loss suffered. The court would look at factors such as whether or not the individual had dependents and what the individual's earning potential may have been.
While there are criminal charges in this case, it is possible to file a wrongful death suit even if there are no criminal charges. Furthermore, if an individual is found not guilty in a criminal case, they might still be held responsible in a civil case because the burden of proof is lower. While a criminal case requires establishing an individual's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, in a civil case, it is only necessary to produce a preponderance of evidence.
Source: ABC 15, "PCSO: San Tan Valley man attempts to bribe deputy after causing fatal crash," Becca Smouse, March 2, 2015