CarA truck driver killed a DPS officer in 2013 when his truck plowed into the patrol car because the truck driver was looking at photos on his phone. Today, that driver was sentenced to 6 years in prison for negligent homicide.

Clearly, one of the lessons learned from this story is that causing an auto collision while distracted by your phone is now considered something beyond ordinary negligence, because ordinary negligence does not normally trigger prison—even if the consequences to the victim is serious injury or death from the collision.

But what does sending the driver to prison do for the family of the dead DPS officer (who was 49 at the time he was killed)?  Well, outside of a sense of social justice, not much.

But, a civil claim or lawsuit can do more for the family.  This driver, and likely the trucking company he works for, are responsible for the harms and losses this negligence caused the family. Those harms and losses are addressed the only way they really can be–with financial compensation (there is no way to bring back their father, husband, son). That compensation is usually made by the insurance company insuring the driver and trucking company—usually following  a relatively intense personal injury legal proceeding.

In such a tragic situation, there are no winners. But I do hope this family received something more to recognize their loss than watching this driver go to prison.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Attorney Kevin Fine with Davis Miles McGuire Gardner at (480) 733-6800 or via email