A Mobile, Alabama medical student died in a devastating car accident involving a DUI last month. An Alabama surgeon has been charged with manslaughter for the death of the 24-year-old medical student. She was a passenger in the surgeon’s vehicle. At the time of the accident, the surgeon was speeding and driving while under the influence. Her family has brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon.
Alcohol Was Involved in The Fatal Accident
According to the wrongful death lawsuit, the neurosurgeon had previously stated that since he had a physician card issued by the police department, he could get out of any legal responsibility for driving while intoxicated or otherwise breaking traffic laws. The surgeon was on staff at the Mobile Infirmary and drove a high-performance Audi convertible at 128 miles-per-hour on a road with a speed limit of 45 miles-per-hour in Mobile.
Another vehicle turned in front of the surgeon’s Audi, and he swerved to avoid a collision. While swerving, he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a guardrail, then rolled three times before slamming into a light pole and then crashing upside down in a ditch. The young medical student was pronounced dead at the accident scene, and the surgeon was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Law enforcement noted that his blood-alcohol test revealed that he was over the legal limit when the crash occurred.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the surgeon either negligently and/or wantonly caused the student’s death. The lawsuit claims that the surgeon was liable because of the following:
- He drove carelessly and recklessly
- He was driving while intoxicated
- He was driving at excessive speeds
- He failed to keep a proper lookout while driving
- He failed to maintain control of the car
- He failed to use reasonable care when operating the vehicle
Bringing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a DUI Car Accident
Under Alabama law, a deceased individual’s estate can seek compensation on behalf of their loved one. In Alabama, family members of the deceased individual cannot bring a claim themselves. Instead, a representative of the decedent’s estate must file the claim. Wrongful death lawsuits allow the victim’s family members to seek compensation from the defendant whose negligence caused the death of their loved one. Wrongful death claims are essentially personal injury claims, except that the deceased person’s estate steps in to file the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual.
Many of our clients are unsure whether they have a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit if the negligent driver has not faced criminal charges. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the driver has not been charged with the crime of DUI or manslaughter. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil claims, and liability happens in monetary damages, not punishment such as imprisonment.
Successful wrongful death claimants are entitled to compensatory damages that will cover the cost of the deceased individual’s medical bills and other financial losses. Specifically, Alabama’s wrongful death laws allow the estate to request punitive damages that are available to punish a defendant whose negligence caused the death of the deceased individual and deter other people from engaging in such negligent actions in the future.
When to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Under Alabama law, the deceased individual’s estate must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of the incident or accident that resulted in the decedent’s death. In some rare cases, the estate may have an extended time frame. If your loved one has been killed in a DUI motor vehicle accident, it is essential to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Many times, memories of the witnesses will get fuzzy, any damages will be repaired, and the chance to find video evidence or photographic evidence will become much more difficult. Wrongful death lawsuits often become complex and require a significant amount of investigation. The sooner you reach out to an experienced personal injury law firm, the better.
Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If a drunk driver caused your loved one’s death, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact the experienced lawyers at Heninger Garrison Davis today to schedule your initial consultation.