Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents
10,511 – that is the number of fatalities in 2018 caused by drunk driving according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Drunk driving is a scourge on society. We’ve now gotten to the point where finding alternative transportation is as easy as the push of a button. There’s no reason for anyone to get on the road after drinking. That’s why it’s so maddening to hear about anyone losing a life to a drunk driver.What If My Loved One Was in the Same Car as the Drunk Driver?
It’s always sad to hear when a drunk driver who caused a crash had volunteered to be the designated driver earlier in the night. The passengers in the car had put their trust in the designated driver, and that trust was violated.
There are no laws against having a few drinks and being a passenger in a car. But unfortunately, having had those few drinks can make it difficult to know if the driver should be getting behind the wheel. This is especially true when the driver insists that he or she is fine to drive. Fast forward 15 minutes and a single vehicle car accident has the car wrapped around a tree.Aftermath of a Drunk Driving Death
If a drunk driver causes a death, there almost certainly will be a prosecution. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has strict drunk driving laws, including increased penalties for multiple offenses. With a fatal injury, the Commonwealth may also have additional charges to possibly bring against the individual. These charges can include a felony in certain circumstances.
If your loved one lost his/her life to a drunk driver, the police will do a thorough investigation so as to preserve evidence for an eventual trial. Then, the District Attorney will decide the best course of action in terms of a prosecution. You can expect to be involved, to some extent, in the prosecution.
The police and District Attorney’s office has a lot of resources, but here is the truth. The government has a lot of cases and evidence can slip through the cracks. They do not always interview every witness they should and the victims are not their clients. Meaning, you or your attorney has to go out and start interviewing people right away. Almost always the wrongdoer has a history of this type of behavior and there will be crumbs to follow.
All of this is important to your case. Because of all these variables, it’s important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible.Wrongful Death Compensation
As with any wrongful death claim, there are a lot of elements that go into the compensation scheme set up by the wrongful death statute. However, the two main contributors will be the financial dependence you and your family had, and also your relationship with the family member you lost. This can sometimes lead to unfair results, but it’s unfortunately how the law works.
Another important point has to do with the criminal justice system and the civil litigation. The drunk driver who took the life of your loved one may plea out to a lesser offense or even worse, be found not guilty.
Even if the drunk driver is found not guilty, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a case There are different standards that are applicable and the Government has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. The civil standard is different.
The wrongful death suit is a civil suit where you would have to prove your wrongdoer caused the death of your loved one simply by the preponderance of the evidence. This means that compensation might still be available even if justice was not served in the criminal case.
There is too much at stake during a wrongful death suit to have anyone except for the best. Marcotte Law Firm is the best. Call us today for a free consultation, (978) 458 – 1229.