In recent years, there has been an increase in police enforcement of drunk driving laws in hopes of reducing accidents and the injuries and fatalities that often follow. Increased penalties for DWI offenders have been put in place to discourage drunken driving behaviors. However, it hasn’t completely stopped people from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Worcester families have found out that this couldn’t be more true when their loved one is killed in an accident with a suspected drunken driver.
When drivers are impaired, they cannot make safe driving decisions as their impaired state makes it difficult to both process information and react in a timely way. This could cause any number of scenarios to occur when a person gets behind the wheel while intoxicated, one of which results in an auto wreck and a loved one’s death. Wrongful death laws allow the family members of the victim to seek reparation for the losses they have suffered when a loved one dies prematurely. While it will never bring their loved one back, it can help a family move forward with closure and financial support after a drunken driving accident.
Wrongful death is similar to personal injury cases in that the carelessness of another directly caused a person’s injury and the family members are now suffering monetary loss. One person must be appointed to receive the benefits that a wrongful death suit may bring, although children are often named in the proceeding. Since wrongful death by drunken driver is a vicious act, punitive damages may be available, depending on the nature of the person’s death.
Losing a loved one suddenly is never easy, but when a person’s actions or inactions were believed to have been a contributing factor, it can feel even more unfair. People owe each other a duty of care, and failure to uphold this duty could be the reason for a person’s untimely death. While no malicious intent may have been present, the result is the same. For this reason, seeking a wrongful death action is well within a person’s rights after the loss of a loved one.
Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death Overview,” Accessed August 7, 2017