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Criminal trial for trucker accused in fatal crash

An Ontario truck driver accused of being responsible for the deaths of two men in 2013 appeared in court on March 16 and will go to trial on March 26 and 27. According to reports, the 50-year-old driver was behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer that hit a taxi carrying one passenger shortly after 4 a.m.

The cab was struck from behind at an intersection and flew into a ditch. It caught fire, and the 38-year-old driver and his 47-year-old passenger both died. The tractor-trailer driver has been charged with operating an unsafe vehicle and careless driving, and he and the company for whom he was working are facing multiple charges regarding motor vehicle inspection and maintenance. The two men who died were both married and had children.

When individuals are killed in an accident like this one, the families may wish to file a wrongful death suit against the responsible parties. For example, in a case in which the responsible parties are considered to be both a company and an individual, a civil suit could be filed against both.

In addition, it is not necessary for there to be criminal charges in order to file a civil suit. The burden of proof in a civil suit is different, and a person or company may be negligent in a way that is not criminal but still leaves them responsible for the accident. If the suit is successful, a court will look at a number of factors, like whether the deceased individuals had dependants and what their earning power was, when assessing the damages. It might consider potential earning power over a period in deciding what family members receive.

Source: Brampton Guardian, "Bramptom trucker headed to trial in fiery, double fatal crash," Louie Rosella, March 16, 2015

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