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Parents of dead teen file wrongful death lawsuit

The parents of an 18-year-old who was killed in a collision after he and other underage teens were served alcohol at a party have filed suit against the parent of the teen host of the party that left two friends dead, one injured and the driver behind bars.

Two boys, both 18, died in the wreck in North Potomac on June 26, 2015. Both were rear-seat passengers who died at the scene.

According to the wrongful death petition filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court, the intoxicated driver was speeding more than 100 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit was only 35 mph. Due to both speed and impairment, he was unable to maintain control of the vehicle, causing it leave the road, strike several objects and flip over.

The deceased teen's injuries were catastrophic and incompatible with life.

The father of the teen hosting the party had previously entered guilty pleas to double criminal citations for permitting underage drinking at his home. His fine was $5,000.

The driver of the car also entered guilty pleas to two counts of manslaughter for his friends' deaths and received a four-year sentence.

While this case has a criminal component to it, it's important to understand that it is possible to file and win a wrongful death lawsuit when there have been no criminal charges filed in the case. This distinction is vital, because the civil and criminal courts are two disparate entities governed by different rules and standards of proof.

Filing wrongful death litigation can never replace a deceased loved one's presence, but this civil justice can be a form of closure for those left behind.

Source: WUSA, "Family sues dad who hosted party before fatal N. Potomac crash," Andrea McCarren, Oct. 26, 2016

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