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DUI accident grounds for civil suit

A man who caused a fatal drunk driving accident a couple of years ago in Louisiana recently entered a guilty plea to vehicular homicide. As a result, he has been sentenced to seven years behind prison bars. In addition to going through the criminal justice system, a person who causes a deadly DUI accident may face a civil lawsuit filed by the surviving loved ones of the deceased victim, who have the right to seek to hold this individual accountable as well.

At the time of the Louisiana drunk driving accident, the 26-year-old man's blood alcohol level was .209, which is over double the legal limit for driving. He ended up losing control of his vehicle and hit a utility pole at about 1 a.m. The passenger in his vehicle, a 25-year-old man, was thrown from the car and died at the accident scene.

Police at the time reported that the driver's speech was slurred and that the strong smell of alcohol was coming from his body and breath. Authorities also said he was driving at a high speed. The man initially claimed that his deceased passenger was the one who had been operating the vehicle. However, he later confessed that he had been the one behind the wheel at the time of the collision.

If a family loses a loved one in a DUI accident in Louisiana, they may file a wrongful death claim against the reportedly at-fault driver, seeking damages. If the driver ends up being charged and convicted, proof of the conviction may be presented in a related civil court proceeding in an effort to establish liability in the accident. Only if liability is established to the court's satisfaction will claims for damages be determined.

Source: nola.com, "Drunk driver whose friend died in Magazine Street crash sentenced to 7 years", Ken Daley, Nov. 2, 2016

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