Articles Tagged with Boston drunk driver injury lawyer

A recent law to stop repeat drunk driving has been struck down in Oklahoma as it was declared unconstitutional by the state supreme court.  Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD) have been working for decades to curb drink driving.  They are working to raise money to fund anti-drunk driving campaigns, host educational programs such as the court-mandated victim impact panel (VIP), and to pay for efforts to lobby public officials to enact real change at the state and federal policy level.

Boston drunk driving lawyerIf you have ever watched a drunk driving public service announcement, listened to one in the car when driving on the radio, or seen a highway billboard, you may have noticed a common trend. They all seem to play on the fear impaired drivers have of being arrested.  This is somewhat of a sad commentary, considering the real concern should be that drunk driving can and often does cause serious personal injury or even death. However, drunk driver focus groups over the years have shown the primary concern these individuals have is to their own freedom and well-being, not the hypothetical losses of someone they don’t know.  Continue reading

Drunk driving accidents are different than typical personal injury lawsuits in Boston because the police and prosecutors will be working separately to gather evidence and prove intoxication on behalf of the at-fault driver.  In a typical car accident case, where the driver is not suspected of impairment, police may respond to the scene and conduct a cursory evaluation. They will typically write up a brief vehicle crash report and get the parties to exchange contact information and insurance cards, but there will not likely be any follow up investigation, unless there are serious injuries or death.

Drunk driving accident cases more often result in serious injuries and fatalities, and furthermore, driving drunk is a crime. That means police and prosecutors will be more heavily involved, though this won’t have a direct bearing on the civil case.

This additional work done by the police is for the purpose of convicting the defendant in an OUI trial, but it can also be of great help in obtaining a full and appropriate financial settlement from defendant’s insurance company.  In some cases, the insurance company will realize there is no point in denying liability.  When a defendant is arrested with probable cause for suspicion of drunk driving, insurers are often much quicker to settle.  They will offer to pay to fix plaintiff’s vehicle and will make a settlement offer. This does not however, mean that it will be a good settlement offer as the insurance company may still be willing to fight the case on damages. When this happens, the jury is told that defendant was driving drunk and caused the accident, but it is up to them to decide how much money, if any, the defendant should be required to pay the plaintiff.  This is known as a fight on damages only civil case and they are quite common in drunk driving injury cases.

Boston Drunk Driving Accidents
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The winter holiday season is a time of year when many people are out on the roads after drinking alcohol, due to the all holiday parties and family festivities. This is one reason Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), uses this time to push the legislature into crafting stricter laws related to drunk driving and drunk driving offenders.  According to a recent news article from CBS Local Boston, that is exactly what MADD is doing this year.

Boston drunk driving lawyerMADD is lobbying local lawmakers to require alcohol ignition interlock devices for first-time operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OUI) offenders.  Pursuant to the current law, these alcohol ignition interlock devices are only mandated for those who have been convicted two or more times for OUI.  This current ignition interlock law can be found in the Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 90, Section 241/2.

Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices

A lawsuit filed after a drunk driving accident in Boston is a civil action where defendant may be held liable and the plaintiff awarded monetary damages. The same is not true in a criminal action.  However, unlike with many other Boston personal injuries, the tortious act in question is also illegal, so the defendant will likely be facing one or more criminal charges in a separate case.

Boston drunk driving crashEven though the criminal case and civil drunk driving lawsuit are separate cases, the criminal case can have major effects on the civil personal injury case.  The way this typically works is that following a Boston drunk driving crash, the police will be called to investigate, and if they suspect the at-fault driver was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (OUI), the officer will conduct a drunk driving investigation consistent with the officer’s training and experience and the DWI Detection guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which have been adopted by law enforcement agencies around the nation.

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Losing a family member in a Boston drunk driving accident can have such a devastating effect on the surviving family members. The emotional pain and mental suffering is unbearable, but the financial losses are crushing as well. These losses include medical expenses, lost wages and loss of potential future income and benefits. To compensate one surviving family, a defendant in one recent case agreed to a $4.8 million settlement, according to a recent news article from Fox News.

DUI Ignition InterlockThis was a very high-profile alleged drunk driving case in which the defendant was Amy Locane, who is an actress best know for her work in the 1990s cult classic musical “Cry Baby,” as well as a major role in the first season of the popular series, “Melrose Place.”  The fatal alleged drunk driving car crash occurred in 2010. Locane received a 2.5-year prison sentence, but that wasn’t enough to compensate the family of the 60-year-old decedent. Thus, they pursued a civil case. Much of the settlement payout will be derived from the hosts of the party where Locane was drinking prior to the crash, under the theory of social host liability.  Continue reading

The clear majority of Boston car accident cases are purely civil matters.  The at-fault driver will likely get a citation for one of more moving violations such as failure to stay in the proper lane, or one of the others listed in Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.) Chapter 90C.

Boston drunk driving accidentsHowever, unless the driver was intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, or doing something extremely reckless like participating in an illegal street race, there will not be any criminal charges filed.  Continue reading

According to a recent news article from the Boston Globe, a New York City bus driver was involved in serious bus accident when he allegedly crashed into another bus.  He was killed, as were two others.

Boston drunk driving crashAuthorities have said this driver had a history that included multiple traffic accidents including a recent conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol.  Despite his employer allegedly knowing of his criminal and motor vehicle history, he was cleared to continue driving prior to the deadly bus crash. Continue reading

When people talk about drunk driving crashes in Boston, they often call them drunk driving accidents.  While it is okay to use this term, as discussed in a recent article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, these are generally someone’s fault, and therefore, the proper term should be drunk driving crashes, as this does not indicate a lack of blame. The truth is, these collisions occur because of specific choices made by the driver. The offense of operating under the influence (OUI), as defined in MGL c. 90 s.24, is to drive a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/ or with a blood-alcohol concentration that meets or exceeds 0.08. To do so is not only a criminal offense, it is a breach of one’s duty to passengers, other motorists and pedestrians to use reasonable care on the roads.

Boston car accident lawyer In keeping up with the changing terminology, Waze, one of the most popular navigation apps, has begun using the word “crash” when explaining a road hazard ahead that involves a motor vehicle collision.  Continue reading

There is often a distinction between what actually happened and what can be proven in a court of law. This is because of the complex rules of evidence and trial practice that come into play during a civil drunk driving crash lawsuit in Boston. In some cases, the alleged drunk driving accident is actually captured on video, and that video may be introduced at trial in many circumstances.

Boston drunk driving According to a recent news article from CBS Local Boston, an alleged drunk driving car accident in Cohasset was captured on video by bystanders in a vehicle traveling behind the suspected drunk driving. Continue reading

Drunk driving involves acting with an extreme risk towards the safety of oneself and others. The tort underlying a Boston drunk driving lawsuit is negligence which involves breaching one’s duty of care towards plaintiff in a manner that causes damages to others.  The four elements of negligence are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Causation can be further broken down into actual and proximate cause.

Boston drunk driving lawyerActual cause is also known as “but for” causation. This is where the harm incurred (damages) would not have happened absent defendant’s negligent conduct. One example would be where defendant is negligent in fixing plaintiff’s brakes.  Plaintiff is unable to stop in time at a red light and goes through the intersection where he or she T-bone’s another vehicle causing serious damage. Had the mechanic not been negligent in fixing the brakes, plaintiff would have stopped in time and the accident would not have occurred.  We could say that “but for” the mechanic’s negligence in fixing the breaks, the accident would not have occurred. This is actual causation. Continue reading