The estate of a drunk driver killed in a fatal accident is being sued by a former North Carolina legislator who was injured in the crash. The lawsuit, which was filed on July 23, is seeking $10,000 each in punitive and compensatory damages.
The man who died in the accident was found to have a blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit, and the bar in which he was drinking was also named in the lawsuit. The man was driving recklessly and crossed the center line before colliding head-on with the former legislator's car. Police originally charged the former legislator with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle because they believed that it was his car that had caused the accident. However, these charges were dismissed once the facts became clear.
The former legislator suffered serious injuries in the accident, and he was listed in critical condition at a local hospital. He remains in a wheelchair and undergoes physical therapy several times each week. The medical bills for his treatment are several hundred thousand dollars. Receipts showed that the drunk driver had purchased alcohol at the bar named in the lawsuit 20 minutes before the accident. The bar settled a lawsuit in 2007 relating to another customer who was involved in a deadly motor vehicle crash. North Carolina law prohibits bars and restaurants from serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron.
This case demonstrates how an individual's life can be seriously impacted by the reckless actions of another, and that businesses serving alcohol have a responsibility to the community. While accidents are sometimes unavoidable, it seems that this one may have been prevented if the bar had obeyed the law. An attorney familiar with motor vehicle accident lawsuits may have the experience necessary to hold negligent parties accountable for the pain and suffering they cause, and may help victims receive the compensation they deserve.
Source: ABC News, "Ex-North Carolina lawmaker sues estate of man in fatal crash", July 23, 2013