Drunk Driving Crashes and Wrongful Death Lawsuits

drunk driving crashes, DUI charges, Orland Park wrongful death attorney, wrongful death lawsuits, punitive damagesSummer is here and that means lots of cookouts, family get-togethers, beach days, and vacations. At many of these social gatherings alcohol is served, and all too often, drivers make the decision to get behind the wheel of their vehicles after they have been drinking, with tragic results.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (NHTSA), there were 10,265 people killed in drunk driving accidents in 2015, the most current year for which statistics are available. This means that every day that year, 28 people were killed by a drunk driver. This was a sharp increase from the year before, when 9,943 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

In Illinois, approximately 1,000 people are killed each year in drunk driving crashes. About 35 percent of those drunk drivers are between the ages of 21 to 24. Each year, law enforcement in Illinois arrest almost 40,000 people on DUI charges, yet these horrible crashes still happen.

Wrongful Death

When families lose a loved one in a drunk driving crash, they often consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who was responsible for the crash. Although a wrongful death attorney understands that no amount of money will ever make up for the death of a loved one, he or she also understands that families of victims are able to receive compensation for the financial burdens with which they are left.

The financial expenses families can sue for include the following:

  • Any medical costs associated with life-saving attempts for the victim, including ambulance, emergency room, surgeries, and hospital stays;
  • Funeral and burial expenses;
  • Loss of future financial support that the victim provided, up to his or her retirement;
  • Loss of future benefits, including health and pension;
  • Mental anguish the loss has caused the family; and
  • Loss of companionship, emotional support, and care the victim provided.

In some cases, the victim’s family may also sue for punitive damages, especially in a drunk driving accident case. Punitive damages are different from other damages as their point is to “punish” the defendant for his or her behavior. Punitive damages are also meant to send a message to society that this type of behavior will not be accepted by the courts.

It is important to note that regardless of whether or not criminal charges have been brought against the drunk driver, or the status of any criminal case, families can proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit as the two actions are entirely legally separate from each other.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, contact a skilled Orland Park wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal options you may have. Call James A. Payonk, Jr., P.C., Attorney at Law, at 708-633-6005 today for your free consultation.



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James A. Payonk, Jr.

~ Attorney at Law ~

10705 W 159th St.
Orland Park, Illinois 60467

(708) 633-6005