There are risks inherent to driving or riding in a motor vehicle, such as the potential for sudden mechanical failure or the potential for a serious collision or crash. When other drivers sharing the road with you make poor decisions, such as driving while impaired or indulging in distractions while at the wheel, the potential for serious injury or death in a vehicle increases.
In 2017, drunk drivers caused 1,172 deaths. That is an increase of about 4 percent, despite the fact that there were roughly 8 percent more traffic enforcement actions targeting those suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI). This increase means that you and your loved ones may be at greater risk for a crash with drunk drivers now than you were a year or more ago.
The law doesn’t stop people from making bad decisions
Although it is against the law in Ohio for adults over the age of 21 to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher, many people still choose to do so. There are a host of reasons why. Perhaps they need their vehicle to get to work in the morning and didn’t arrange for a designated driver. Maybe they don’t have the money for a taxi, Uber or Lyft ride.
Whatever the reason, many people decide to intentionally violate the law and operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, narcotics or even prescription medication. Doing so puts everyone else on the road at risk in addition to being a crime. No matter how careful and responsible of a driver you are, there will always be danger and risk associated with the bad decisions of other people on the road.
Justice doesn’t end with an OVI conviction or acquittal
While the state may decide to pursue OVI charges against the drunk driver who caused the crash, that doesn’t mean you, as the victim, don’t also have legal options available. In cases where a drunk driver caused a death, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the driver accountable.
Even if the criminal courts weren’t able to obtain a conviction, you could still get justice for your loved one. There is a lower threshold for evidence and proof in civil court compared with criminal court. Winning in court can be a form of justice for your family.
In situations where a drunk driver seriously injured you or someone else in your family, a personal injury lawsuit may be an option. These lawsuits not only make it clear the other driver was responsible for the crash but provide you with compensation for lost wages, medical and funeral expenses, and property damage that resulted from the crash.