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Doctor may face wrongful death claim for mother and toddler

Patricia M. Jarzobski

Doctors are often thought of as intelligent, level-headed, responsible members of society. They are expected to demonstrate care and consideration both in and out of the office. Sometimes, however, they make mistakes and act recklessly or even as though they are above the law. One Colorado doctor's seemingly poor judgment in his personal life cost the lives of a mother and her toddler. Now he faces criminal charges and also possibly a wrongful death civil claim for his deadly decisions on a Colorado roadway.

A 43-year-old mother and her 3-year-old son were sitting in their minivan at a red light. A 45-year-old doctor slammed his truck into the back of their vehicle at 56 mph, apparently never even touching his brakes. The impact caused a chain reaction involving four other cars. The mother was killed in the crash, and her son succumbed to his injuries two days later in a hospital.

The man claims to have blacked out while driving and doesn't remember the events leading up to the crash. A blood test revealed THC in his system, indicating the use of marijuana. He has a history of 16 traffic violations, including DUI. For his role in this accident, he was charged with 10 counts, including two counts of DUI vehicular homicide. He posted a $20,000 bond and was released.

The doctor recently struck a plea deal. In return for the DUI charges being dropped, he pleaded guilty to three felony counts, including child abuse resulting in death and reckless vehicular homicide. He will be sentenced next month and may face up to 25 years in prison.

In addition to his criminal charges, the doctor may face a civil claim for his role in the deaths of the mother and child. With the help of a Colorado personal injury attorney, the victims' surviving family can file a wrongful death claim against him in civil court. The family can seek monetary damages to assist with the unexpected expenses that were incurred, including funeral costs and burial for both victims as well as any medical bills that were accrued while the child fought for his life in the hospital, along with other documented monetary damages.

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