Driving while under the influence is an improper action that greatly increases the risk of injury to others sharing the roads. Intoxicated driving negatively impacts a driver’s judgment and causes them to engage in negligent and dangerous actions in the operation of their vehicle. If such actions cause an accident with another person, the liability the driver faces can be substantial.
A fatal accident recently occurred in New Jersey involving a father and his two children. They were driving in the early morning hours when they were struck head-on by a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction. The father died at the scene of the accident. Both of his children were taken to hospitals for treatment of their injuries and his son’s injuries are not considered to be life threatening. The other driver was determined to be intoxicated at the time of the accident and has been charged with DUI, death by auto and aggravated assault, among other charges.
A wrongful death occurs when the negligence of a person causes the death of another. Every state has laws governing wrongful death actions, which require certain elements to be proven by plaintiffs in order to be successful. There must be the death of a person caused by the negligence of another that results in monetary injury to the victim’s surviving family members, while the victim’s estate must have a personal representative appointed to it. Any damages belong to the victim’s immediate family, which typically includes the victim’s spouse, children and parents.
The amount of damages is based on the financial injury caused by the death. Numerous factors go into such a determination, and those applicable to this case include medical and funeral expenses, lost income, parental guidance and support. Additionally, since the driver causing the accident in this case was intoxicated, punitive damages may be applicable in addition to any actual financial damages due to the severity of the defendant’s misconduct in causing the accident.
The surviving family members of those injured by drunk drivers, or even negligent drivers, should be aware of their right to compensation and the types of damages to which they may be entitled.