Can I Sue a Driver for Wrongful Death if My Spouse Died in a DUI Collision?

February 24, 2020

If someone’s spouse dies in a DUI Crash, it going to be traumatizing and startling. No one can ever truly prepare for these types of losses, and in most cases, the surviving spouse is left confused and alone. It’s nothing to take lightly, but the only hope for many is that you can file a lawsuit or case against the at-fault driver.

South Carolina is among the many “at-fault” states meaning that the person responsible for the crash is also responsible for all the associated damages.

Were There Criminal Charges Pressed?

Not every fatality in a crash results in charges. It is a strange space in the legal world, and for the many victims who feel the pain of losing a spouse. There is no requirement for someone to have “intent to kill” to face charges, and in theory, every crash is caused by negligent driving, especially if they result in a fatality. So why are there no charges for every vehicular death?

Charges, and ultimately a conviction, rely on proving that the crash and death happened because the driver was reckless and that they were solely responsible for the death of the victim. Manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, and similar charges aren’t necessary to go through a civil case, but they can definitely help in winning that case.

Were You or Your Spouse At-Fault to Any Degree?

It’s hard to accept, but the driver of your vehicle may have contributed to the crash. With South Carolina’s contributory negligence laws in place, the extent of your involvement and driving or your spouse’s driving may change the outcome of your case.

You can still sue for all the damages, but keep in mind that you may not get the full compensation that you would expect. Instances where the fault and degree of fault are surprising often include bad weather. People may “feel” comfortable having traveled at the speed limit during snow or when there was ice on the road, but given local laws, it may not have been conducive. Things like traveling at the speed limit in bad weather can play into the fault and put you or your deceased spouse at partial fault.

Filing A Wrongful Death Case if Your Spouse Dies in a DUI Crash

Your first step is always contacting an attorney that handles wrongful death suits. In South Carolina, you have a small time frame to do this, usually three years from the time of death. As you’re grieving your lost spouse three years can pass by completely unnoticed. You may be attending grief counseling, going through medical rehabilitation of your own, or trying to recover from the loss of an income as well as the companionship.

Your attorney can help you move at a comfortable pace while building a case. It’s critical that you have a Columbia attorney that understands the need to move forward at the pace that’s comfortable for you. Having a ridiculously fast case could be traumatic, and it could mean not getting compensation for the full scope of issues that have come up with the death.

What Will Happen Next?

Wrongful death cases often go through the same insurance policy that processed medical and property damage. In fact, these issues are usually resolved together in one claim. You can go through that driver’s insurance to submit your claim for all property damage, as well as your medical expenses, and the wrongful death.

It is likely however, that the insurance coverage would not account for the wrongful death or be unable to provide a full compensation that you could put the claim against the driver as an individual person. In that instance, you would file a lawsuit against the person, and the case would likely go to court.

Get In Contact with a South Carolina Accident Attorney in Your Spouse Dies in a DUI Crash

If your spouse dies in a DUI crash, you’ll need a law firm in South Carolina that handles wrongful death claims. Get in touch with a local Columbia car accident lawyer and start building a case today. You can submit your claim for the property damage and medical bills while also pursuing the wrongful death claim.

As part of a claim with Connell Law, you can fight to get compensation for the pain or suffering that comes with the loss of a spouse as well as the financial burdens. Burial expenses, medical costs preceding their death, and more can substantially change the effect and impact of your case. Get in touch with Connell Law.