Far too many New Jersey families know what it feels like to lose a loved one to a drunk driver. The sad part is that alcohol-related car accidents are preventable since all impaired drivers have to do is not get behind the wheel. The families of their victims might obtain some justice from the criminal justice system, but they retain the right to seek justice and restitution from the civil courts.
For instance, back in 2014, a 29-year-old New Jersey man selfishly made the choice to drive after drinking. He ended up traveling the wrong direction on one of the Garden State Parkway's exit ramps. Another vehicle occupied by a 42-year-old man and a 36-year-old man had the misfortune of being in the drunk driver's path. The impact killed both men.
The investigation into the accident revealed that the drunk driver's blood alcohol content was .162, which is more than twice the state's legal BAC limit of .08. In Sept. 2016, he pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide. Recently, he received a prison sentence of five years, along with a five-year driver's license suspension to begin upon his release. Reports indicate that the man must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being considered for parole.
As would be the case for other families who lose loved ones in alcohol-related car accidents, the families of these two victims could use his conviction to help establish negligence in wrongful death claims. Successfully proving that the death of their loved ones were caused by the actions of an impaired driver could result in awards of damages to help with the unexpected financial losses associated with these tragedies. In addition, the families might also find closure and feel that they did everything they could to obtain justice for the victims.
Source: nj.com, "Drunk driver in fatal Woodbridge wrong-way crash gets 5 years", Paul Milo, Feb. 24, 2017