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If the drunk driver dies, who is responsible for medical bills?


First and foremost, being involved in any type of vehicular-related accident can be devastating. In your driving lifetime, you will most likely be involved in a car accident, but most of us are lucky and are merely involved in fender-benders, which are low-level traffic accidents in which no one is hurt. However, unfortunately, many people have to bear witness to more serious types of car crashes, especially where drunk drivers are at fault. Drunk driving accidents are one of the most heinous types of accidents, because they have the potential to leave the victims seriously injured or dead. Personal injury resulting from an accident of this type is a given.

When a drunk driving accident occurs, fault is pretty easy to determine, particularly where the drunk driver has been arrested at the scene of the accident or in close proximity thereto because of his or her blood alcohol level. Moreover, in many drunk driving cases, the drunk driver is unharmed. This makes it easier for all related medical expenses to be assumed by the drunk driver who is at fault. However, what happens in cases where the drunk driver that caused the accident dies as a result? A lawmaker in Pennsylvania, back in February 2015, introduced a bill that would make it possible for drunk driving accident victims to have all of their medical expenses, as well as any other bills related to a drunk driving accident, paid for, regardless of whether the drunk driver survived the accident.

A victim in a DUI case is protected in tort and can sue under such a claim. This means that because this accident is classified as one of negligence, the victim can make a case in negligence and seek damages, which would include payment of medical expenses. Other damages may be punitive in nature, which are damages that look to punish the perpetrator for his or her wrongdoing. Punitive damages are a little harder to come by, however.

Holding drunk drivers at fault, whether they survive the accident or not, will go a long way toward protecting victims who are hit by drunk drivers.

Source: ABC27 News, "Pa. bill would close loophole in DUI law," Myles Snyder, Feb. 19, 2015

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