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California nurse convicted after car accident killed bicyclist

A jury was initially deadlocked over the criminal charges for a nurse, though it ultimately convicted her of vehicular manslaughter. The car accident in question caused serious injuries and, ultimately, the death of a 54-year-old bicyclist in California. With the driver convicted in this man's death, his family may have solid footing toward pursuing a civil claim for wrongful death against the woman.

The now convicted woman was heading to work when the fatal accident occurred. At one point, she followed another vehicle and made a left hand turn at an intersection that does not have a stop sign. As she passed through the intersection, the woman felt something strike her car and pulled over to investigate.

Suspecting a deer may have run into her, the nurse actually found a bicyclist who was bleeding severely. The 54-year-old man had actually been thrown off of his bicycle after the collision, and he then hit the side of the woman's vehicle. Despite efforts made by the woman who struck him as well as healthcare professionals at a local hospital, he died a short while later.

Though the conviction of this nurse may have provided some sense of legal justice for the friends and family of the victim, the family retains separate legal rights to consider. Sadly, a car accident such as this can impose unexpected expenses on loved ones, such as medical bills and funeral costs. In California, the family of the victim may file a wrongful death claim to seek financial relief in connection with their loved one’s death. As the driver in this tragic bicycle accident has already been convicted, evidence that might have been helpful in garnering that conviction might prove to be equally successful in the litigation of a wrongful death claim. Proof of the criminal conviction, in and of itself, may be sufficient to establish financial liability in civil court.

Source: napavalleyregister.com, "Motorist convicted of vehicular manslaughter in fatal bike crash", Kerana Todorov, June 13, 2014

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