The family of a man who was hit and killed by a drunk driver in 2013 has won a lawsuit against the driver that caused the accident, as well as her employer.
The Tragic Day
The victim, his wife, and their two children were driving in the couple’s SUV when they were struck head-on, on the driver’s side, by a woman driving under the influence of alcohol.
The SUV rolled several times before finally coming to a stop. When paramedics arrived on the scene just a few minutes later, the husband had already passed away, and despite their best efforts they were unable to revive him. His wife and children lived, but all three suffered severe injuries.
His wife was diagnosed with several spinal fractures and facial lacerations. She continues to have a limited range of motion in her neck and back. Their two children, a seven-year-old and a ten-year-old, suffered from facial fractures, orbital injuries, a fractured scapula, lung contusions, and lacerations. The cost of medical care for the three survivors has been exceedingly expensive and the mother has been unable to return to work due to her injuries.
The driver who struck them was taken to the hospital and her blood alcohol level registered at 0.40, which is five times the legal limit.
In addition to pleading guilty to criminal charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault, which earned her 18 years in prison, the drunk driver soon found that she was faced with a civil lawsuit filed by the family of the man who had been killed.
The investigation into the accident revealed that the driver, a nurse, had been told to leave work after her fellow employees noted that she was unfocused and slurring her words. A further look into the matter showed that this wasn’t the only time the nursing home had sent the woman home for being intoxicated. She had allegedly been sent home a few months prior after being so drunk that she dropped a patient.
When the family filed a lawsuit, it not only named the driver as a defendant, but also her place of employment. The complaint alleged that the driver was negligent for driving drunk and the employer, a nursing home, had been negligent in allowing their employee to drive home when they knew that she was too intoxicated to get behind the wheel of the car.
The Final Determination
In an attempt to reach a settlement agreement, the driver offered the family the full limit of her insurance policy which was $60,000. Her employer also made an offer of $100,000. Both were rejected.
At trial, the plaintiff’s legal team presented evidence which showed that the nursing home had a strict policy regarding the suspected use of drug or alcohol during working hours. The policy indicated that anyone suspected of using drugs or being drunk while at work would be tested, and would either undergo disciplinary action or be fired. In this case, the nursing home never tested their employee despite her history of being sent home.
At the end of the trial, the court awarded the plaintiffs $16.73 million. This sum included $5 million in punitive damages against the nursing home for their failure to prevent their employee from getting behind the wheel.
New York Law
Sadly, this case is just one of many. Our auto accident lawyers in New York work around the clock with clients who have suffered severely after being hit by a drunk driver.
Just like the plaintiffs in this case, our team frequently uncovers evidence that shows it wasn’t just the driver who was at fault. New York law includes “Dram Shop” law. This law holds any establishment that continues to serve alcohol to an obviously intoxicated patron liable for any injuries that the patron may cause. In a large number of cases, we have determined that a bar or restaurant should also be held responsible for the harm that was inflicted on our clients.
If you or a loved one were injured by a drunk driver a lawsuit may be in your best interests. You shouldn’t have to suffer financially, as well as physically, for an accident that wasn’t your fault.