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Wrongful death possible in fatal accident in Ontario

Several charges have been filed against a truck driver believed to be responsible for a horrific crash on Highway 400 back in June that claimed the lives of four people, including a 5-year-old girl. Ontario authorities have charged the man with four counts of criminal negligence causing death for his role in the fatal accident. Given the evidence against him, it may also be possible for the families involved to sue for wrongful death

The accident report does not list the specifics of the crash, but it has been confirmed that several vehicles were involved, two of which were destroyed outright in the crash. The fatalities were all individuals in the same car, three of whom were members of the same family. A 55-year-old grandmother, her 35-year-old daughter and her 5-year-old granddaughter were all among those killed.  

A fourth individual, unrelated to the family but in the same vehicle, was also killed. The 35-year-old driver faces multiple charges and, if convicted, could face serious jail time. Given the complexity of the investigation, police say it will still be some time before all the details of the crash are known and can become public. 

Regardless of whether the man is acquitted of the charges filed against him, Ontario law allows the families of the deceased passengers to file wrongful death suits against him in civil court. These suits use police evidence to back up their claims in court. Of course, if the man is found guilty of the criminal charges, such an outcome to the criminal case could go a long way towards strengthening the civil case, but it is by no means a requirement. 

Source: CBC News Toronto, "Charges laid in Highway 400 crash that killed 4", Sept. 15, 2016

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