The serious injury or death of a loved one due to the negligent or careless behavior of another can create significant emotional and financial stress. This situation is made even more difficult when the injuries are caused by a drunk driver, since their actions are preventable and create unnecessarily dangerous circumstances.
An SUV was recently involved in a one-vehicle car accident in Queens. While driving on a highway, the driver lost control of the vehicle and struck a concrete divider, causing the vehicle to roll. In addition to the driver, there were also four passengers in the vehicle. The passenger riding in the front seat was injured in the collision and taken to a nearby hospital, but died after arriving. The three passengers in the backseat were taken to the same hospital with minor injuries. A 12-pack of beer was lying next to the vehicle when officials arrived, and the passengers admitted that they had consumed much more alcohol prior to the accident. The driver was arrested at the scene and is charged with DWI, vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Victims that are injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver may be able to collect damages for their injuries if they can establish liability on the part of the defendant. In order to do so, the victim must prove the intoxication level of the defendant at the time of the accident, that the level was too high to safely operate a vehicle and that the defendant failed to use reasonable care for the public's safety.
Most states have laws governing the testing of the blood alcohol level of anyone killed in an automobile accident. Some states use discretionary testing, which provides officials with the option of testing the BAC of individuals fatally injured in an accident. Other states, including New York, apply mandatory testing, which requires BAC testing of drivers, passengers and pedestrians killed in a motor vehicle accident.
The dangers associated with intoxicated driving are well documented and such behavior displays a lack of care for the safety of others. Victims of drunk-driving accidents should be aware of their ability to receive compensation for their damages and the proof required to do so.