Any fatal accident is tragic, but those that result in the death of a child are especially heartbreaking. When an accident includes criminal charges, people may tend to assume the driver engaged in an illegal act like drunk driving or road rage. Georgia residents might not realize that those who drive distracted, fatigued or recklessly may also gain severe penalties. A serious accident that occurred in Valdosta last December illustrates this point.

According to the Valdosta Daily Times, a vehicle carrying seven people was traveling on Interstate 75 when the driver overcorrected and flipped the vehicle, landing upside down. Six passengers went to the hospital with varying degrees of injury, including a 13-year-old child who had to be life-flighted to a Florida hospital for treatment of severe injuries. One of the passengers, a 5-year-old girl, died after she was ejected from the vehicle.

The driver received numerous charges, including driving without a license, failure to maintain lane, a child-restraint violation and second-degree vehicular manslaughter. These charges show that certain negligent driving behaviors – such as unlawfully driving without a license and failing to provide proper restraint for a child – can result in criminal, as well as civil, penalties. Authorities did not state what caused the driver to lose control, such as distraction, speeding, adverse weather or other factors. They also did not say if the vehicle’s other occupants were wearing seatbelts.

Those who were injured to due to the negligence of others, including criminal negligence, are entitled to seek compensation. It may be wise to consult experienced legal counsel after sustaining serious injuries or losing a loved one.