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Accident victim's mother calls for changes in BC law

A 30-year-old man who struck and killed a pedestrian was fined $2,000 and banned from driving for five years by a British Columbia court on Aug. 12. The man, an Alberta resident originally from Kelowna, had entered a plea of guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention, and the mother of the female pedestrian killed by the man's modified SUV was not happy with the sentence. The Perth, Australia, woman has called on lawmakers to stiffen penalties for negligent drivers.

The car accident took place in March 2013 in the Lower Mainland city of New Westminster when the man struck a 25-year-old woman after making an an illegal left turn at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Sixth Street, according to witness statements. The woman, who was in a crosswalk at the time of the accident, was subsequently transported to the Royal Columbian Hospital with multiple injuries including a fractured skull. She was pronounced brain dead about an hour after arriving at the medical facility.

While the charge of driving without due care and attention could carry a six-month prison term, prosecutors decided that the facts did not warrant a custodial sentence. The mother of the victim ruefully commented on the inadequate nature of the penalties by pointing out that dog owners faced similar fines for failing to keep their animals on a leash.

Negligent motorists who cause injury or damage may face civil as well as criminal sanctions. Accident victims often suffer debilitating injuries that could have a long-term impact on their quality of life. The surviving family members of a deceased victim could face debilitating hardships of an emotional or financial nature. A personal injury lawyer may seek compensation for accident victims and their families by bringing a lawsuit against the drivers at fault to hold them financially responsible for their negligent actions.

Source: The Times Colonist, "Vancouver publicist in critical condition after hit-and-run accident", Mike Hager, August 05, 2014

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