Drunk driving can have several consequences, sometimes even for people who seem unrelated to the situation. This is because car accidents are complex situations, especially when the victim of a drunk driver dies. The story of a Louisiana drunk driver demonstrates just some of the difficult issues that can arise.
Last July, a drunk driving accident resulted in the death of a 69-year-old man from Kenner. At the time of the accident, the driver who caused the accident was alleged to have been intoxicated. Now after nearly a year has passed, the driver faces upgraded charges. He has recently been booked for vehicular homicide and is being held on $100,000 bond.
In addition to facing criminal charges, a drunk driver can also face repercussions in civil court. The family of a drunk driver's victim can maintain a wrongful death suit for all sorts of damages stemming from the accident, including medical expenses and pain and suffering. The family can hold other people liable as well under dram shop laws. These laws permit lawsuits against bars and other alcohol retailers to hold them accountable for serving intoxicated drivers. Over 40 states have some form of these laws.
Louisiana, however, does not have a dram shop law. This has important implications on the types of civil lawsuits that victims and their families can bring. Without the existence of a dram shop law, bars cannot be sued or held liable for the damages, injuries, and deaths that may result from accidents caused by drunk drivers.
There are many ways victims and their families can respond to a drunk driving accident. Unfortunately in Louisiana suing the bars that served the drivers is not an option. The laws provide other avenues of relief, however, and victims and their loved ones can team with their attorney to pursue the most appropriate path.
Source: KATC.com, "Charges upgraded in Metairie fatal crash," Feb. 26, 2013