A young man in Maine has been indicted on a manslaughter charge following a Maine drunk driving accident that killed one and left another seriously injured. Although civil liability has not been raised at this juncture, our drunk driving accident lawyers know it could well be an issue in the future, given the facts we know so far.
Many actions for which one might be deemed liable in a civil case are also violations of criminal statutes. While some criminal courts will impose orders of restitution on convicted offenders to be paid to the victim(s), this is separate and apart from civil liability, which should be explored in cases involving serious injuries. For one thing, restitution orders often do not take into account more than medical expenses. Civil liability, meanwhile, will weigh such elements as lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. That means one stands to obtain far more compensation in a civil case. This is also true, particularly in drunk driving accident cases, since there is the possibility of third-party liability under Maine’s Liquor Liability Act. Under this provision, one can be sued for up to $250,000, plus medical expenses, for reckless or negligent conduct in serving liquor to a person who is intoxicated or a minor if the defendant disregards the obvious and substantial risk that serving liquor to that person might cause to the drinker or others.
In this case, according to CentralMaine.com, three young men were drinking together at a local restaurant. The defendant driver was reportedly “the most sober” of the trio, so he was designated as the driver that night. He reportedly skidded 300 feet before careening off the road into the opposite travel lane and striking a tree and then a telephone pole. All three occupants were ejected from the vehicle. One of the passengers died, and the other suffered severe injuries.