People ask car crash lawyer Doug Landau of the ABRAMS LANDAU law firm in Herndon, Virginia, if you can still sue a drunk or reckless driver if they have been sent to jail. Posts by Herndon lawyer Landau about Guardians ad Litem addressed how "incompetent" defendants (who are incarcerated or mentally unable to participate at trial) are represented in the Fairfax Virginia Circuit Court. Licensed in "the Sunshine State," Landau also finds a recently reported news press Florida wrongful death case is also instructive.
A Lee County Florida jury awarded a family $14 million last week in a lawsuit filed over the death of two of their sons in a drunk-driving crash. The accident occurred in 2007 when a man who had been drinking all night at a local bar hit the truck the two young boys were riding in at about 80 mph. In 2008, the defendant pleaded no contest in the criminal case and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
The Defendant was driving around 80 mph when he hit the family’s truck, causing it to flip onto its side. An 11-year-old son suffered injuries during the crash, but the 6- and one-year-old boys died from the wreck. The six women jurors awarded $12 million for pain and suffering to the parents and surviving son for the loss of the two children. The remainder of the damages went to past and future medical bills and funeral costs. The jury awarded about $25,000 for punitive damages, which are designed to punish and be a deterrent. The drunk driver was the only defendant. It’s possible the plaintiffs will attempt to get money from his insurance company. The drunk driver admitted he remembers drinking at the bar, but doesn’t remember how he got drunk. Cases like this show how society is protected from future crashes caused by such reckless behavior through the criminal (or Traffic) Courts and how the innocent victims receive compensation through the Civil Courts.