Earlier this month, the family of a Buddhist monk who was killed in a car accident back in 2008 reached a settlement with a drunk driver’s insurance company for $625,000. According to a report by one local news source, the accident occurred on Route 28 North when an Isuzu crossed over the center median and struck a Lincoln Towncar shortly after 10:15 in the evening. The two vehicles collided head-on.
Evidently, all four people in the Towncar required medical treatment, as did the driver of the Isuzu and his passenger. Sadly, two days after the accident one of the men in the Towncar passed away from his injuries. He happened to be a Buddhist monk in a temple in Catlett.
The man’s family brought suit against the driver of the Isuzu, claiming that it was his decision to drive drunk that took the life of their loved one. Criminal charges were also filed against the driver, ultimately resulting in his receiving a sentence of 16 years’ incarceration. His sentence was ordered to be suspended after eight years in subsequent proceedings.
While the civil case against the driver did not go to trial because a settlement was reached, the deceased man’s family was prepared to provide evidence that another driver had called 911, reporting that the Isuzu was driving erratically just minutes before the fatal collision.
Civil and Criminal Liability in Drunk Driving Cases
In Washington D.C. and the surrounding areas, it is illegal to drive drunk. This means any time a driver’s blood- or breath-alcohol content is in excess of .08. Not only can a drunk driver face criminal charges, but he or she also can face civil liability for his or her role in the accident.
A civil case is different in many ways from a criminal case. The most prominent difference is that a civil case must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, whereas a criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that a defendant may be found liable in a civil case but not guilty in a criminal case, since the burden is higher in criminal cases.
Evidence of a criminal conviction for drunk driving may be relevant to a civil trial for the same incident.
Have You Been Injured by a DC Drunk Driver?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured by a drunk driver in or around the Washington DC area, you may be entitled to monetary damages to help compensate you for your injuries or loss. However, keep in mind that proving your claim likely will mean dealing with an insurance company in some capacity. An insurance company is not likely willing to settle a claim without the serious threat of a successful case against it. Therefore, to better situate your claim it is imperative that you contact a dedicated Washington DC injury attorney before proceeding with your case. The dedicated attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen have decades of experience bringing all kinds of accident cases, including drunk driving cases. Call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Peanut Plant Responsible for Multiple Deaths Due to Salmonella Contamination, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, October 9, 2014
New Report Finds over 60 Virginia Children Have Died in Daycare Facilities Since 2004, Lack of Oversight Blamed, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 4, 2014
Misplaced Construction Sign Results in $100,000 Settlement with St. Louis County, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2014