On Friday evening, April 15, 2016, the lives of three young children were changed forever when a motorist, 28, hit the three children while they talked on an Atlanta sidewalk. The man was driving under the influence of drugs, and faced three counts of serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving, driving on the wrong side of the road, and possession of a controlled substance.
During the accident, the man struck a vehicle from behind, crossed the center line, and drove onto the sidewalk where the children were standing.
A young boy, 9, was killed as a result of the accident when he stood with his brother, 11, and his friend, age 12 who were both critically injured. The young boy was kept on life support for several days until doctors were sure nothing more could be done to save him.
The driver, well known to authorities, was booked on heroin possession charges in 2011 and 2013, and he served time in the Fulton County Jail in 2012 for driving with a suspended license. It was reported by the Atlanta Police Department that the suspect was, "traveling on Joseph E. Boone at a high rate of speed when he struck a passing truck on the rear as he crossed over the center line. The suspect traveled up onto the sidewalk where three children were standing and talking. The suspect struck the three children, causing them to be thrown in multiple directions. The vehicle continued and struck a second vehicle before becoming disabled and coming to an uncontrolled stop."
After the accident, the driver tried to flee the scene.
The community of Bellwood was reeling after the accident that took such a young life on Joseph E. Boone Boulevard that fateful night. It was later learned that the driver had just injected heroin before hitting the children.
The other 2 boys are both recovering from their injuries.
Do the Families Have a Case?
In 2013, 297 people were killed by impaired drivers in Georgia, which is down from 445 in 2007. Impaired drivers includes both those driving under the influence of alcohol and those under the influence of drugs.
This is not a first time offense for the driver, and he faces serious jail time for his numerous offenses, most egregiously for the death of the 9 year old.
The family of the boy have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their son against the driver who is already facing plenty of criminal charges because of the accident. The driver was reportedly in a substance abuse treatment program at the time of the accident, and it is not clear if he left the program against the advice of the treatment facility. Further, they can sue the driver for the injuries their other son had to deal with because of the accident.
The family of the other boy can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver for the injuries their son sustained, and both families may be able to find other plaintiffs for the case. If the driver was in treatment for substance abuse and was allowed to leave, the program may be partially liable for the injuries the children sustained.
The important part is that the families need to meet with a personal injury attorney who can go over the merits of their respective cases and discuss the potential for financial compensation from the driver and others who may be held liable.