Drunk driving accounts for over 250 deaths in Pennsylvania each year. In 2016 (the most recent year with available statistics), there were 263 fatal car accidents where alcohol was involved, which is approximately 15% of all deadly car accidents. Drunk driving is a danger that can take the lives of other drivers, passengers in a drunk driver’s car, or pedestrians and bystanders. If a member of your family was killed in a drunk driving accident, talk to an attorney today to discuss the options that may be available to recover compensation for your loss.
The Reiff Law Firm’s Philadelphia drunk driving fatality lawyers represent the families of those killed in DUI accidents and fight to get them the compensation they need to keep their family going. You may be able to take advantage of Pennsylvania’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws, wrongful death statute, and dram shop act to seek compensation for your loss. For a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (215) 246-9000.
Suing for Wrongful Death After a DUI Accident
If you lost a parent, child, or spouse to a DUI accident, you have our most sincere condolences. Losing a loved one is an unimaginable struggle, but Pennsylvania’s laws give survivors options to file wrongful death lawsuits to help them move on. The compensation you receive from a wrongful death lawsuit can help your family continue on, especially if your lost family member was responsible for income or other important duties in the household.
Under the PA wrongful death statute 42 Pa.C.S. § 8301, you can file a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one. This allows surviving family members to file a lawsuit for anything the deceased would have been able to sue for as part of a personal injury lawsuit had they survived. This means you can claim damages for your loved one’s end of life medical expenses, lost wages they missed and will continue to miss because of their death, and the pain and suffering they faced at the end of their life. These damages can be paid to the parents, children, and spouses of the deceased. If there is no one able to bring the lawsuit, the deceased’s personal representative appointed in their will or by law can bring the lawsuit, instead.
You may also be entitled to other damages for your losses. This means that you could seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, grief counseling, lost counsel, lost companionship, and lost investments, as well as other effects of your loved one’s death.
To prove a wrongful death lawsuit, you must show that the responsible party was negligent or used unlawful violence. Even though driving under the influence is illegal, these cases are usually based on claims of negligence. This means using evidence and testimony of the drunk driver’s actions and illegal DUI as proof that they caused your loved one’s death, but there is no need to prove intent. It is likely that the drunk driver will be charged with DUI offenses and criminal offenses for causing death while DUI, and the evidence and testimony used in those cases may be able to help you with your civil case as well.
Dram Shop Laws for DUI Fatalities in PA
Many states, including Pennsylvania, have a “dram shop law.” This law, named after an old serving size of alcohol (a “dram”), allow victims of DUI car accidents to hold the bar or restaurant that served the drunk driver partially responsible for the accident. Bars, restaurants, and sometimes even private individuals have a duty not to overserve their guests. Continuing to serve customers when they know them to be already intoxicated is dangerous, especially if there is a risk that they will get behind the wheel. PA’s dram shop act can hold these negligent bartenders and servers liable.
Many damages related to a car accident, especially a fatal car accident, can be quite substantial. This means that you may want to consider joining multiple parties in the lawsuit to receive the full compensation you need. The drunk driver is always directly responsible for the injuries and death they cause, but you may be able to add the bar or restaurant that overserved them as an additional party in the lawsuit. This can help you recover even if the at-fault driver has no car insurance or assets to cover the damages by allowing you to recover compensation from the bar or restaurant, too.
Our Philadelphia Attorneys for DUI Accident Deaths Offer Free Consultations
If you lost a loved one to a drunk driving accident in the Philadelphia area, talk to one of our attorneys about your case. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling wrongful death lawsuits and fighting to get the families of victims the compensation they need to keep supporting themselves. If you are considering filing a lawsuit for the death of a loved one after a drunk driving accident, talk to the Philadelphia DUI wrongful death lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today. You can reach our law offices any time, 24/7, by calling (215) 246-9000.