The state of Tennessee is doing its best to catch drunk drivers. A new law allows police to require individuals suspected of drunk driving to give blood for a blood alcohol content determination. Officials hope this new law will deter drunk driving and keep these negligent drivers off the road. While this is an admirable goal, and some action is better than none, increasing the number of criminal charges does little to help those who have fallen victim to a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
In Nashville, for example, police used a blood test to charge a man with his second DUI. The man was pulled over after going 90-miles per hour on Interstate 65 at two in the morning. His blood was taken after he refused to take other DUI tests. While this new law allows police to bring DUI charges against a man who otherwise might not have been charged, the law did nothing to prevent the man from speeding while intoxicated in the first place.
A victim of a drunk driving accident can face serious injuries. As a result, a victim may need years of difficult physical and emotional rehabilitation. Obtaining the necessary care to fully recover can be expensive, either plunging the victim into undeserved debt or completely foreclosing him from obtaining the care. This is where a civil lawsuit can help.
When a victim brings a lawsuit seeking damages from a drunk driver, certain elements must be satisfied. The victim must prove that the defendant was negligent in his driving, and that negligence caused the accident which resulted in the victim's injuries. Once successful on a claim, a victim can obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
While the criminal law system can punish those who have driven drunk, a civil suit can add to the deterrent by threatening drunk driver's pocketbooks. Perhaps then Tennessee roadways will be made a little safer.
Source: News Channel 5, "New TN Law Nabs Man On Second DUI Offense," Jan. 29, 2013