In California, surviving family members such as spouses, partners and children may pursue a wrongful death legal action against a drunk driver whose negligence led to the death of their loved one.
Drunk driving in the U.S. and California
That driver chose to get behind the wheel while impaired with alcohol. Not only will he or she face criminal charges such as vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving, but they also face legal consequences in a civil lawsuit related to wrongful death.
For decades, authorities have warned the public about the dangers of drunk driving, yet this crime continues to persist.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 10,100 people died in crashes in which alcohol played a contributing factor in 2019. That number represents 28% of the nearly 36,100 traffic fatalities recorded that year.
Also, the NHTSA disclosed that of the nearly 51,000 drivers involved in fatal crashes, almost 9,600 or 19% were drunk. In California in 2019, of the nearly 5,000 drivers involved in fatal crashes, 878 or nearly 18% were drunk, a number just under the national average.
Medical expenses and personal grief
The grief from the loss of a loved one often is overwhelming. Seeking compensation in a wrongful death action may provide some comfort. Such compensation would include for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Personal grief, sorrow and anguish
- Lost income and services
It is not fair that this happened to your family. But you have the option to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver whose recklessness caused you so much hardship.
You cannot replace a loved one
Granted, no amount of money will ever compensate a family stemming from the unexpected death of a loved one. Understandably, a legal victory against a drunk driver will not replace your loved one. However, it can soften the sting of a tragedy that you always will remember.