By: Bryan Snyder
The American justice system is unique in the world, as the 5th amendment clearly states that no person shall be prosecuted twice for the same crime. This is important, as it prevents the government from punishing someone found not guilty of a crime by continually trying them in order to get the results it desires.
Most people then think that if someone is acquitted in a criminal case, that is the end of the story and justice has been served. This is true in the strictest sense of the law, as the 5th amendment prevents the government from trying someone again in a criminal setting for criminal punishment.
What that doesn’t mean is that you can’t sue someone that killed someone you love in a drunk driving accident in a civil court. Civil courts cover the realm of law that deals with interactions between people, and if someone you love was killed in a DUI accident you can often sue the person responsible for wrongful death or other associated claims.
There have been many famous cases where this aspect of the law has been applied, and not just in DUI accident situations. Perhaps the most famous one is the O.J. Simpson trial. While the criminal courts found him not guilty of the murder of his two victims, a civil court found him responsible for their wrongful deaths, and awarded their families a significant financial settlement to compensate them for their loss and pain and suffering.
If this seems like a contradiction, it’s not. The law looks at it as if the criminal aspect and the personal aspect of a certain act as two separate parts of one whole. The criminal courts did not prove that the person in question acted criminally, and thus they have no legal ability to punish them with jail, fines or any other recourse. That decision however does not preclude the notion that while someone might not have committed any criminal act, their actions did in fact lead to someone suffering a wrongful death. The law recognizes the right of family or other loved ones to then pursue legal action to remedy the financial and emotional costs this loss caused.
In order to move a wrongful death DUI victim lawsuit forward, you need to understand a few things. The main thing you need to understand is that there are lawyers out there that can help you, can help put things right, and help you move on with your life. That being said, you need to be emotionally prepared for the legal action that may drudge up feelings that are painful and unsettling.
Your drunk driving victim attorney will help you through this difficult time by answering your questions, working with you to keep your case focused, and ultimately presenting your case to the courts so that you can get the compensation you deserve for the loss you have suffered.
An aggressive, experienced and compassionate DUI victim lawsuit attorney is the best asset you can have in the fight to honor the memory of your lost loved one.