Trial Over Tragic Iowa Crash Delayed Again for Medical Reasons

Trial Over Tragic Iowa Crash Delayed Again for Medical Reasons | Pintas & Mullins Law Firm

A family still grieving two years after a fatal car accident may have to wait a little bit longer for a court decision that will give them peace of mind. The driver charged with 2 counts of vehicular homicide, and multiple other counts for injuring others involved has again filed for a delay of court proceedings. Our auto accident attorneys know all to well how difficult it is for victims to await financial compensation and we hope this process will be able to proceed in a timely manner for the Iowa victims.

In April of 2012 the driver was granted a delay because he had to undergo brain surgery in relation to his medical condition. Now, the driver is asking for another delay because his recovery is not proceeding as expected. The driver is represented legally in a guardianship fashion by his father, who says that he is concerned the driver is mentally unfit to stand trial.

The basic legal foundation for this type of mental impairment delay is that in order to stand trial a person must be mentally sound enough to assist in his or her own defense. The driver’s father is arguing that he is unfit to assist in his representation on the basis that the driver has allegedly been experiencing repeated epileptic incidents. In relation to these incidents, the driver allegedly cannot recall many key details including things as simple as his attorney’s name.

While the court likely will have sympathy for this sort of argument, it is unclear at this time how time the presiding Judge will grant the driver for recovery. At the time the parties initially set the upcoming date for trial they also set a provisional backup date in early September 2012. The driver’s representative has now requested that the date be postponed until November 2012.

In addition to the complications with memory and epilepsy, the defense is also scrambling to complete depositions with the driver’s primary doctor since the accident. The doctor is said to have just received the full medical files on this particular patient. As a result of late collection of the files, the defense likely wants to gain more time for the current treating doctor to review the files and become comprehensively familiar with his patient’s medical situation. 

The medical history in this particular accident is key because this driver had actually been involved in five relatively major accidents prior to the fatal crash involving the two deaths, and multiple injuries two years ago. These past collisions lead the driver to lose his license for some time. The prosecution is now raising issues about whether or not the driver presented false information to the Iowa-licensing agency in order to obtain his license to operate a motor vehicle anew. If the driver did in fact fabricate medical information to secure a license he could face additional criminal charges from the state, or perhaps more severe sentencing from the judge.

The small Iowa community has really embraced the family seriously injured in this accident. The accident occurred on Mother’s Day in 2010, as the mother of three drove her son to karate lessons. Two of her children, ages 5 months old, and five years old, died in the collision. The mother sustained serious injuries, and the 3-year-old child sustained only minor injuries. The crash occurred when the driver blew through a stop sign, allegedly traveling at a high rate of speed.

In a case like this, plaintiffs will generally seek compensation for physical injuries and related medical expenditures, as well as other various emotional tort claims. Tort claims could produce compensation for mental hardship, emotional distress, and loss of companionship or society. Generally a jury would assess the value of these claims and award an amount of money they felt was appropriate. In this case, the driver has waived his right to a jury trial, opting instead to have the case heard solely in front of the judge. This type of litigation strategy is not unusual in small rural communities where a jury is much more likely to exercise favoritism for the victims as they might have personal ties or greater emotional sympathy for them.

If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident you should contact an experienced auto attorney as soon as possible to begin the process for legal remedies. You may be able to recover for physical injuries, property damage, and emotional distress.