Earlier this year we published a post in this blog discussing the severity of Montana’s drunk driving problem. Statistics indicate that Montana has the second-highest rate of drunk driving deaths of all the states in the U.S. Drunk drivers have caused untold amounts of suffering to Montana families.
When a drunk driver causes a fatal accident they are likely to be charged with vehicular homicide. The victim’s family also has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit and recover damages, including compensation for loss of support and loss of companionship. Obviously no amount of damages can truly compensate a grieving family who has lost a parent, sibling or child because of one individual’s irresponsible decision to drink and drive. But it can help ease the family’s financial stress, especially if the victim was a breadwinner on whom the family relied for support.
In some cases Montana law also allows a lawsuit against the bar, restaurant or liquor store that served alcohol to the drunk driver. In order to recover in such a “dram shop” case, the family must offer evidence proving the business provided alcohol to the drunk driver, and that the drunk driver was visibly intoxicated at the time of the sale. In cases involving underage drinking, the family can recover if they can prove the business sold liquor to a minor and either knew they were underage or failed to take reasonable action to verify their age.
At the Edmiston and Colton Law Firm we are committed to seeking justice for victims of drunk driving and their families. You can learn more about our motor vehicle accident practice on our web page.