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Suspect in Washington hit-and-run case identified

A garbage truck driver caused the July 31 hit-and-run that killed a female pedestrian in Seattle, authorities determined later that day after a partial investigation. At approximately 3:30 p.m., the driver, an employee of waste disposal company Recology CleanScapes, allegedly struck the woman while she was crossing James Street in the 800 block.

Witnesses confirmed that a large commercial truck hit the pedestrian, who appeared to have been dragged before she died on the scene. After the crash, authorities closed off the road and prohibited travel near the accident scene while they proceeded to investigate the matter. Officials are yet unsure if the garbage truck driver knew that he had struck the woman. They said they identified the man but have not yet taken him into custody. A representative of Recology CleanScapes said in a statement that the company is cooperating with officials and plans to provide investigators with all the information they need. While the investigation continues, Seattle authorities have instructed anyone with information regarding the accident to call the police.

If the garbage truck driver did indeed commit a hit-and-run, he might face criminal charges. For the family of the deceased pedestrian, however, a criminal conviction may do little to ease the emotional and financial burdens they may face.

A wrongful death claim could provide families of individuals who die in pedestrian accidents legal recourse for seeking compensation for damages including funeral costs, lost earning power and loss of companionship. To assemble a strong wrongful death claim, a personal injury lawyer representing the plaintiffs would have to prove that the at-fault driver's recklessness, negligence or omission directly contributed to the pedestrian's death. Evidence proving that the driver was fatigued or distracted, for instance, could be corroborated by officials' completed investigation report or even traffic cameras or eyewitness testimony.

Source: KIRO, "Police investigate fatal hit-and-run in First Hill neighborhood", July 31, 2014

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