Wrongful death comes calling in many different ways. In this instance, a wrong-way driver introduced the Grim Reaper to an innocent victim.
While you might like to think that every other driver on the road is alert and aware and takes great care and caution while driving a deadly vehicle, this is not always the case. In fact, far too often, the news is full of accident reports that list various injuries and deaths as a result of someone not paying attention, texting while driving, driving while drunk or driving recklessly. It does not take much to lose control of a car when you are drunk and/or high on drugs.
Consider the case of a high school teacher, fired from his position for drug use, out on a tear on the highway and driving in the wrong direction. As you might imagine, the end result of that lark, begun under the influence of drugs, resulted in a horrific head-on crash with two vehicles. It was not pretty.
The teacher was treated at the scene and taken to the hospital after he was arrested. EMS crews took the survivors for medical attention. Turns out, the police report detailed that the man was charged with DWI/DUI, criminal possession of a hypothermic needle and criminal possession of a controlled substance. The man was also found to have at least two prior convictions for drunk driving and drugs.
Would the estate of the victim, who did not make it out of that crash alive, have a wrongful death case? Most likely, yes, they would. There would be more than enough evidence to suggest to a jury that there was egregious behavior that cost someone his life. The police report alone would speak volumes about the driver’s state of mind and attitude the night of the crash. An Austin personal injury lawyer could use this report in court on behalf of a victim.
In a case like this, the criminal charges would need to be dealt with before a civil lawsuit may be filed. This would mean a possibly lengthy wait before the wrongful death suit could be launched. Additionally, in the unlikely instance that the driver was found not guilty of the charged offenses, they could still be tried in civil court, as a wrongful death suit is filed under the auspices of a statute and not the criminal code.
If you have been in a similar situation, call an experienced Austin personal injury lawyer and do not wait too long to do it. There is a Statute of Limitations for filing wrongful death actions and it would be wise to know what that is before you lose the right to sue.
Brooks Schuelke is an Austin personal injury attorney with Perlmutter & Schuelke PLLC. Contact an Austin injury lawyer at Civtrial.com or (512) 476-4944.
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