Despite the millions of dollars spent by the state and federal governments to curb the dangerous habit of drunk driving, the reality is that drunk drivers still pose a serious threat to Maryland motorists. While the total number of alcohol-related deaths has fallen, the percentage of alcohol-related deaths in relation to the total number of vehicle fatalities remains the same as in years past. In fact, in 2016, 159 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across the State of Maryland. This represents about 31% of the total number of traffic fatalities.
Maryland lawmakers are aware of the drunk driving problem facing the state and continue to take action to stop it. In fact, according to a recent local news source, Maryland lawmakers are currently trying to pass a bill that would increase the criminal penalties for drunk drivers who cause serious injuries as a result of their actions. Evidently, the law currently calls for enhanced penalties when a drunk driver causes “life-threatening injury;” however, the proposed bill would amend that language to include any “serious physical injury.”
This most recent move to implement stricter criminal penalties reflects Maryland lawmakers’ dedication to reducing drunk driving. However, the criminal consequences of drunk driving only represent part of a drunk driver’s potential liability. Drunk drivers may also be liable to their victims through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
Criminal Versus Civil Liability Following Drunk Driving Accidents
Criminal DUI charges are initiated by the government and are technically brought because the drunk driver allegedly violated the law. If convicted, a drunk driver will likely face fines, probation, and potentially jail time. However, there is no guarantee that a victim will receive compensation following a guilty verdict.
A personal injury or wrongful death case, on the other hand, is brought by a drunk driving victim or their family and seeks financial compensation for their injuries or loss. These cases are completely independent of criminal cases and require a lower burden of proof in order to be successful. If successful, an accident victim or family member may receive compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering caused by the accident.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Drunk Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of a Maryland drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience representing injured clients and their families in all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, including those arising out of drunk driving accidents. We understand that the recovery process is always a difficult one, and we tailor our representation to be respectful of that fact. Call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury advocate. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
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