A 59-year-old New York man died shortly after midnight on March 13 when he was hit head-on by an allegedly drunk driver. The man had just left work, and the accident occurred on Route 25A in Smithtown.
The 36-year-old woman who hit him crossed over into the lane and hit the man's Toyota Camry head-on. She was treated at the hospital for minor injuries. The man was also taken to the hospital, and he was pronounced dead there.
According to police, the woman said that she had been drinking, and she performed poorly on field sobriety tests. They also said that a pre-screen had showed that her blood alcohol level was high. However, they did not yet have the results of a blood test. The woman is facing DWI charges, but it is likely that there will be additional charges.
In a case like this, the family of the individual who died may want to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who is responsible. In this case, even if for some reason the DWI charges were dropped or if the woman were found not guilty, it would still be possible to file a lawsuit claiming the driver had been negligent because the burden of proof for a civil case is lower than in a criminal case.
A wrongful death lawsuit may provide compensation to cover the lost income of the deceased individual. A court might consider the person's earning power and whether or not they had dependents. For example, in this case, if the stepchildren were dependent in part on the man's income, that might be considered as the jury weighs how much should be awarded.
Source: 7 Online, "Long Island man driving home from work killed in wrong-way crash with alleged drunk driver," N.J. Burkett, March 13, 2015