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Deadly Outdoor Dining in DC

March 11th was a beautiful afternoon in Northwest Washington, DC–the perfect day for dining outside at your favorite restaurant. That’s exactly what patrons of the Parthenon restaurant on Connecticut Avenue were doing at lunchtime that Friday afternoon.

Suddenly, an SUV dramatically accelerated across two lanes of traffic and plowed directly into the diners who were having lunch under the restaurant’s awning. Two women died and at least nine others were injured; three of those injured were hospitalized in critical condition. The driver, an older man who was traveling alone, was not injured and was cooperating with law enforcement after the accident.

What Happens Next?

Police believe that the tragedy was truly an accident. Witnesses at the scene described the driver as scared and in shock–one of the restaurant’s managers who was at a window when the SUV came barreling into the outdoor tables described the driver’s face at the time of impact as “confused as to why he couldn’t stop.” From these statements, it certainly seems as if this was a tragic accident with no ill intent or malice. However, that won’t be much of a consolation to the loved ones of the two women who lost their lives and the others who may suffer long-term injuries or health problems.

Authorities will continue investigating the accident to determine whether there were any factors that caused the accident–drugs or alcohol, distracted driving (on a phone, not paying attention, etc.), drowsy driving, or even a malfunction in the vehicle. Police and investigators will check cell phone records, the car’s electronic systems, and other evidence to figure out exactly what happened.

The Legal Ramifications of This Type of Accident

Depending on the results of the investigation and, sadly, whether those injured in the crash pull through or pass away, the driver of the vehicle could have legal implications. He could be charged with vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, unintentional vehicular manslaughter, or other similar crimes.

These charges will essentially depend on the type of negligence that police determine caused the accident. In this case, it’s possible that ordinary negligence caused the tragedy–meaning that the driver was careless or not paying attention. On the other hand, if the investigation proves other factors were in play, he could be guilty of gross negligence, which includes distracted driving, driving while intoxicated/under the influence, and speeding. And these are just possible criminal charges.

Beyond potential criminal charges, the driver could also be facing civil suits for wrongful death and personal injury. This means that his insurance company will be facing several payouts or settlements with injured victims and the families of those who died in the accident.

Call the Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys in DC

We certainly hope you don’t, but should you or a loved one find yourself in the unfortunate position of these victims and their families, you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. The Lapidus Law Firm will provide you with the support you need as well as decades of legal expertise in personal injury and wrongful death claims to help you through this difficult time.

We will work tirelessly to hold the negligent party responsible for their actions and do everything we can to secure you a fair, reasonable settlement. Call The Lapidus Law Firm today at (202) 785-5111 or (301) 852-7500 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.