Many people who drink too much and then get behind the wheel of a car only worry about being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), if they worry about anything at all. However, there are often outcomes far worse than being arrested, and it is often innocent victims who suffer the worst consequences of drunk driving.
According to a recent news article from Fox 8, authorities placed a 41-year-old mother under arrest in connection with a fatal car accident during which her 9-year-old daughter was killed. Authorities say defendant was driving with her 9-year-old daughter and her 7-year-old son on Highway 70 when she ran off the road. After running off the road, the vehicle hit the grassy area on the shoulder before it reentered the road, crossed the median, and collided with another car traveling in the opposite direction. Witnesses say defendant was actually thrown from the vehicle while it was still in the median before entering the opposite direction travel lanes. It is believed the daughter who was killed was not properly restrained in her seat at the time of the accident.
When first responders arrived at the scene of this fatal car accident, they found defendant’s daughter non-responsive and declared her dead. Defendant’s son was also injured in the accident, though the extent of his injuries is not known as this time. They are not believed to be life-threatening. As for defendant, she was seriously injured in this serous drunk driving car accident, and EMTs transported her to a level-one trauma center, where she was listed in critical condition. It should be noted, defendant has not been convicted of any crime in connection with this matter and is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty in a court of law.
As our Asheville car accident lawyers can explain, a civil car accident lawsuit requires plaintiff to establish four elements common to any negligence case. The plaintiff must first establish defendant owed a duty to act as a reasonable and prudent driver, so as to prevent foreseeable harm to other drivers, pedestrians, and the property of others.
In North Carolina, every driver owes this general duty of care as a matter of law. This is true for drivers licensed in our state and anyone else who uses the roads here. The second element in a car accident negligence case is to establish defendant breached his or her duty of care. North Carolina law also makes it a crime to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating alcohol or drugs. If a person is convicted of drunk driving in connection with a motor vehicle accident, this can be used as evidence to establish negligence in a civil car accident lawsuit.
However, the burden of proof is much higher in a criminal case, and prosecutors may offer plea deals or lose cases at trial, even when defendant was actually driving drunk. If a defendant is not convicted in a criminal court, this does not mean your car accident attorney will not be able to apply the same facts and evidence to get you a full and appropriate financial recovery.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
A mother has been charged with DWI in connection to a crash that killed her 9-year-old daughter in North Carolina , North Carolina, April 13, 2015, Fox 8 News
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Moses v. Drake – Car Accident Injury to Pregnant Woman, Baby, Feb. 16, 2015, Rock Hill Car Accident Lawyer Blog