About Me

Personal Injury Law Is More Complex Than You Think

I always assumed that personal injury cases where pretty straight forward. After being in an accident, any financial losses that you suffered would be reimbursed by the liable party's insurance company. Unfortunately, things only work this way in a perfect world. In the real world, personal injury cases are extremely complex and getting the insurance company to pay a fair settlement requires the expertise of an experienced injury lawyer. Unfortunately, it took me several months to finally seek out the legal assistance I needed. As a result, I waited much longer than necessary to get the compensation I so desperately needed. During this time, I learned more about personal injury law than I ever thought I would. It is my hope that this blog will allow me to share that knowledge with you so that you can avoid making some of the same mistakes that I did.

Personal Injury Law Is More Complex Than You Think

Asking For Mercy: When The Driver Who Caused Your Loved One's Death Is Considered Family

by Christine Wagner

Car accident lawyers can advise families on many things, but one thing they cannot do is convince a judge that their clients deserve mercy. When people drink and drive, get into an accident, and then cause the deaths of people they love, it becomes a very upsetting situation to the surviving family members. Some families look at the driver as though he or she deserves whatever punishment he or she gets. Other families look upon the driver as someone who was like family to them, or could have been family because the driver and passenger were engaged. If you want to know how to plead for mercy, here is what a car accident lawyer can do to help.

At the End of the Trial

The lawyer representing your near-family member can make sure that the judge provides floor time for those that want to say some final words on the matter. This is the time when you can address the driver and/or address the court. Now is the opportunity you have to beg the judge for mercy of the defendant. You must plead your case for asking for mercy, and more than one living relative must plead the same, or second it.

How the Judge Decides

After the judge has heard all of your family's requests to bestow mercy upon the defendant, the judge takes the following into consideration:

  • The defendant's criminal record
  • The defendant's prior OWI/DUI offenses
  • The defendant's own regrets, admission of guilt and request for a merciful sentence

If the defendant has absolutely no other legal issues or a past record that hints at possible future offenses, the judge might not send your "just-like-family member" to jail for vehicular manslaughter. Instead, the defendant may have to remain on house arrest, receive court-mandated counseling and drug or alcohol rehab treatment, have his or her license revoked or suspended, and even have to report to a probation officer for regular blood, urine or breathalyzer tests. Any combination of these punishments is considered mercy by the courts because the offender is not going to jail, where the courts would otherwise send someone for manslaughter.

Entering Your Statements Into Court Records

While a court stenographer may be present during the trial, it is still a good idea to write down what you plan to say when you beg the judge to show mercy. Not only does this simply what will be a very emotional moment, but also provides the defendant's lawyer with a copy of what you just said. The car accident lawyer will then process all of your family's requests for mercy by entering them into the defendant's file and submitting them to the judge for the court records.

To learn more, contact a car accident lawyer like Master Weinstein Shatz Moyer, P.C.