Car accidentMonterey, CA- A man accused of killing two women in a Monterey-area drunken driving accident was sentenced to 13 years in jail for actions that fateful morning in 2013.
Last week, a judge sentenced Palm Grove resident Stuart Elder to 13 years in jail for involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence.
In April of 2013, Elder and a passenger, who testified in his defense, were traveling on Sloat Road in his Escalade when he crashed into another vehicle. According to the Monterey County Weekly, Elder was traveling almost three times the posted speed limit when he lost control in a curve and slammed head-on into a car carrying Linda Larone, 65, and Sharon Daly, 72, both of Pebble Beach. Both women were killed in the accident.
Elder’s female passenger was seriously injured in accident, but testified in his defense during his February criminal trial.
Elder told police he was trying to avoid a deer in the road. But, in addition to traveling at a high-rate of speed, Elder’s blood alcohol content was two times the legal limit.
Elder’s case brings up a topic that our California accident attorneys often encounter: Will a guilty verdict for criminal charges help my civil case?
Unfortunately, in most states a guilty verdict for a traffic violation is not admissible evidence in civil court. In personal injury cases, the defendant must actually plead guilty in prior to trial or in court. They must actually say “I am guilty,” otherwise a guilty verdict for a traffic violation, no matter how severe, can’t be used by an accident lawyer in a personal injury or wrongful death court case. Though they can’t be used in civil court, a guilty verdict can be used as leverage in injury settlement negotiations.
Losing a loved one in a traffic accident is traumatic and can cause a family great suffering. Their anguish is only heightened when the at-fault driver was intoxicated at the time of a catastrophic accident. Surviving family members and injury victims are not only have to deal with their grief, emotional distress and physical pain, but they soon find themselves drowning in medical debt and other expenses resulting for their accident.
Accident victims and their loved ones are justified in expecting an at-fault driver to cover all of the expenses they accumulate as a result of a negligent driver’s actions. An at-fault driver can be asked to pay a victim’s medical bills, rehabilitative costs, funeral expenses and property repair costs. Obtaining a fair settlement will be easier for accident victims who have a personal injury lawyer working on their claim.
Before you decide how to approach your personal injury or wrongful death claim speak with one of the accident attorneys at USAttorneys. They will evaluate your case and help you make an informed choice about how to approach it so  you are able to optimize your final settlement amount. Don’t delay, call an accident attorney in Monterey today.
 

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