An unexpected tragedy can change your entire life in mere moments. Losing a loved one in a crash caused by a drunk driver may feel like a nightmare that you can't wake up from. Daily life often becomes much more difficult when people must struggle through the fog of grief. For many people, the only thing that keeps them going after such a tragic loss is the drive to see justice served.
When a drunk driver causes a fatal crash, it is common for Colorado prosecutors to bring criminal charges against them. However, some drunk drivers successfully beat charges in court, while other times they may face only a slap on the wrist because of a judge's pity for their situation.
Even in a scenario where a drunk driver who caused an accident that claimed the life of your loved one receives the maximum sentence, you may still feel like the penalty does not fit the crime. Seeking wrongful death compensation from the party responsible for the accident is a secondary form of justice available to surviving family members and dependents after a fatal crash caused by a drunk driver.
Civil court can be a way to hold someone responsible for the impact of their actions
Your family will always have a hole in it after the loss of someone in a tragic accident. Although life doesn't move on, there will be a lasting emotional impact after an unexpected loss. You will also experience a long-term financial impact when a family member dies in a tragic accident.
Your family could lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars when you consider the income your loved one could have made, the services and support they offered to the household, the medical costs incurred and the loss of their support and companionship. You should not have to bear that burden on your own, especially when your financial hardship is the direct consequence of someone else's illegal decision to get behind the wheel while drunk.
The civil courts can rule in your favor even if the prosecutors couldn't convict the driver. There is a lower standard of evidence for civil cases. Also, even if someone gets convicted, a civil suit is possible, as it is not the same thing as facing trial twice for the same crime.
Drunk driving meets the criteria for a wrongful death
Surviving dependents and family members have the right to bring a wrongful death action against someone who behaves in a manner that is negligent or when their intentional actions violate the law and endanger other people. Drunk driving is illegal, and it is an intentional act.
Despite people's awareness of the illegality of drunk driving and the danger they pose to others, people still choose to get behind the wheel while impaired. Bringing a wrongful death lawsuit can serve as a secondary form of justice for your family, a punishment for the person responsible and a reminder to others who would drive drunk that there are many consequences to their decisions.