On June 11, a man traveling east on US 90 veered off the left side of the road and crashed into a metal guardrail. His vehicle continued traveling east in the median before flipping over and coming to rest partly underwater in a drainage ditch. The driver sustained minor injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment. His passenger, however, died at the scene of the crash.
Police suspect that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash. The driver has a history of DWI and was driving under a suspended license when the crash occurred.
Third-Party Wrongful Death Claims for Drunk Driving Accidents
After a drunk driving accident, the prosecutor’s office will begin criminal proceedings against the intoxicated driver. However, these criminal proceedings are separate from any wrongful death claim that the family of a victim might have. Surviving family members that are allowed under Louisiana law to pursue wrongful death claims against negligent drivers include:
- The surviving spouse or children of the decedent
- If there are no surviving spouse or children, the surviving parent or parents
- If there are no surviving parents, the surviving siblings of the decedent
- If there are no surviving siblings, the surviving grandparents of the deceased person
Adopted family members fitting into any of the above categories are allowed to file claims just as any family member related by blood or marriage would be.
Damages available to the aforementioned family members include those for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills including those related to emergency care for the decedent’s final injury, lost wages and benefits, value of lost household services and bills for damaged property. Noneconomic damages available include those for the decedent’s pain and suffering in his or her final moments and the loss of care, companionship, guidance and emotional support of that family member.