Drivers, passengers and pedestrians are constantly exposed to the possibility of an accident occurring. For this reason, all drivers must use care in their actions to prevent them when possible. Driving while impaired, however, shows a lack of care as it exposes others to a greater risk of an accident and suffering serious injuries and even death as a result. Driving under the influence is a preventable action that creates unnecessarily dangerous situations for everyone on the roadway.
A fatal accident recently occurred in New York involving a pickup and two pedestrians standing outside of their stopped car. The car was no longer working and the two pedestrians parked the car in the hazard markings and stepped outside. The driver of a pickup then struck the car and the two men while they were standing near the car, killing both of them. After investigating the accident, authorities charged the driver of the pickup with aggravated vehicular manslaughter, vehicular homicide and driving under the influence of drugs.
The death of a person caused by the negligence or improper conduct of another person or entity is considered a wrongful death. An action for damages pursuant to a wrongful death belongs to the immediate family members of the victim, usually their spouse or children, and must be brought by the personal representative of the victim's estate. The required elements of a successful action are the death of a person caused by the negligence or harmful intent of another, surviving family members of the victim that suffer financial damages as a result and a personal representative appointed to the estate of the victim. Many actions can evidence negligence, including impaired driving. Since the driver in the case above was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident, this may establish negligence on his behalf and make him liable for any damages caused as a result.
When a person is killed in an accident, their surviving family members often suffer financial damages. If the death is proven to be a wrongful death, the family members of the victim may be entitled to compensation for these damages. It is important that they are aware of their rights to compensation and the elements required to be entitled to it.