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Rehab Center Accused of Liability in DUI Wrongful Death

In 2012, a 31-year-old was struck and killed by a drunk driver, who drove another two miles with the victim lodged in the windshield before stopping.

The impaired driver was finally forced to stop by other drivers and detained until police came and arrested her.

The two-year anniversary of the victims’ death is approaching, and family members of the victim say that the pain they are feeling has not subsided since that day. DUI checkpoint.jpg

A Boston drunk driving lawyer knows the death of a family member due to an impaired driver is something from which you never fully recovery.

Surviving family members do have the right to pursue legal action against the impaired driver, although nothing can ever bring back their lost loved one. In this case, the drunk driver has been found guilty of killing her victim and the driver is serving 55 years in prison.

Since his conviction, family members have decided to file a lawsuit against the substance abuse rehabilitation center where the driver as receiving treatment at the time of the crash.

Family of Drunk Driving Victim Sues Rehabilitation Center

Filing a lawsuit against someone who is not the driver is possible under certain circumstances after a drunk driving crash. For example, dram shop laws in Massachusetts prohibit bars and restaurants from serving alcohol to an intoxicated person. The law also makes bars restaurants and other such facilities legally liable if they serve alcohol to someone who is a minor or visibly drunk and who goes on to cause an accident.

Suing a rehab facility, however, may be more complicated Holding a rehab facility accountable can be a challenge because it would be necessary to show the facility had a duty to prevent the alcohol user from driving drunk and that it breached this duty, proximately resulting in decedent’s death.

This is a unique case for another reason, too. The drunk driver was an employee of the treatment center, according to ABC 7. The family alleges the center failed to address the employee’s substance abuse problems, which were evident during the counseling sessions over which the woman presided.

The family alleges the woman who killed their loved one was “clearly and obviously intoxicated during sessions,” and she appeared at various times to be on either drugs or alcohol or both while at work. They hope by filing this claim against the treatment center, it will force facilities across the country to test their staff members for drug and alcohol impairment.

The facility, however, says the woman was not working on the day of the crash and had not informed the facility of her relapse. She also was apparently not driving a company vehicle at the time of the incident, and the facility claims her privacy is protected by disability laws.

The outcome of the case remains to be seen, and it may be difficult for the family to hold the facility responsible since she was not on the job at the time. The question will come down to what duty the facility had, and whether they failed to fulfill their legal obligation.

If you are injured in an accident in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

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