In a tragic local example, a Pittsburgh-area woman was killed and her infant son was badly hurt when they were hit by an SUV late last month. The victims were in an intersection when they were struck, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

The victim, 35, was in Florida with her son, who is 5 months old. She was pushing him in a stroller on the shoulder of the road and was crossing through an intersection when the SUV driver hit them. The mother was pronounced dead in the hospital; her son suffered several broken bones, including a broken collarbone, but was reportedly conscious later that same day. His currently condition is unknown.

Police did not charge the driver, a 55-year-old man, with a crime at the collision scene, but the incident was under investigation. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor, police said.

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It is important to remember that criminal and civil law are separate systems in Pennsylvania. Whether or not the person who hurt you in a motor vehicle crash is ever charged with a crime has no effect on your right to sue for personal injury. The standard of proof in criminal court is higher than in civil court, so many times a case that prosecutors decline to purse is strong enough to gain financial compensation.

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