We wrote last week about the possible penalties a negligent or reckless driver could face in criminal court, and about the choice injured parties or their families have to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for damages.

That scenario is now playing out in New Canaan, where in 2010 a woman allegedly changing a DVD in her car struck and killed an elderly pedestrian who was checking his mail. According to court documents, the woman drove away from the scene of the accident and later lied to her insurance provider and police about how her vehicle became damaged. She was arrested several months after the pedestrian accident, and she recently pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and evading responsibility.

After urging from the deceased man’s family, however, the judge in the criminal case decided on a lenient sentence for the woman. The victim’s family is aware that the woman is a mother, and they didn’t want her children to suffer as a result of her wrongdoing.

Rather than giving her a prison sentence, the judge placed the woman on probation and ordered her to complete a few hundred hours of community service. In particular, she is supposed to do some kind of service involving work with seniors who have lost a loved one.

But the family of the deceased victim isn’t leaving justice entirely up to the criminal court. The family filed a civil lawsuit seeking $2.5 million in compensation for damages.

While no sum of money can return a lost loved one, the family undoubtedly hopes that some measure of justice is achievable through a civil claim of negligence.

Source: New Canaan Patch, “Regan Pleads Guilty in Hit & Run Case, Gets Probation,” David Gurliacci, Nov. 1, 2013