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Holding drunk drivers accountable for their actions

Perhaps the only thing more disheartening than suffering a tragic incident is knowing that it could have been easily prevented. This is often the case when a drunk driver seriously injures or kills a Pennsylvania resident, as most, if not all, of these incidents could be prevented if a sober driver or alternate means of transportation had been arranged.

And yet, the numbers show that drunk drivers continue to occur in large numbers. Indeed, more than 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the State of Pennsylvania involve alcohol-related incidents. In addition, well over 52,000 arrests were made last year for individuals who were driving under the influence.

Drunk driving accidents can have multiple consequences. In addition to losing one's driver's license, a drunk driver can face criminal liability that could send them to jail.

While the criminal case involves the State, the person who is injured can also hold the drunk driver personally accountable through a negligence action. The other driver's DUI can be used as evidence of negligence, which can support a finding of liability against that driver. By holding the other driver liable, the injured person can then receive an award of compensation based on the damages he or she has suffered in the accident.

These damages can be significant, including medical expenses to treat the injuries and costs for therapy, lost wages and income and damages for pain and suffering. Accordingly, it is vital to hold the drunk driver accountable and obtain relief for such a serious incident that can change a person's life forever. The negligence action has the potential to accomplish both of these goals.

Source: Just Drive PA, "Impaired driving," accessed on June 27, 2015

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