By Pendergast Law on April 22, 2014
A male car dealership employee was crossing the street when an impaired driver in a 2002 Lexus ran a red light and fatally struck him. According to The Associated Press, the fatal pedestrian accident occurred in front of a car dealership in Puyallup. Officials say the 64-year-old male driver of the Lexus ran a red light, struck the victim in a crosswalk, jumped the curb, and struck a sign and several vehicles in the dealership’s parking lot. The fatally injured pedestrian was not immediately identified. The driver, who officials believe was under the influence of drugs, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide.
Impaired driving is a serious problem in Washington State. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 156 people were killed in alcohol- related car accidents in the United States in 2011. Furthermore, a study by the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia found that one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes nationwide tested positive for marijuana.
Drug-related driving is a growing concern for many residents of Washington now that marijuana has been decriminalized statewide. Drugged driving accounted for over 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010 nationwide and that number will certainly be higher in Washington where marijuana will soon be readily available.
Motorists determined to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol can face jail time, heavy fines, and license suspensions. A conviction will not, however, automatically result in financial compensation for the victim or his or her family.
Families who have lost a loved one in a Seattle car accident involving a DUI driver would be well advised to carefully examine their legal rights and options. They may be able to hold the at-fault driver financially liable by filing a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical and funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering, and other losses. An experienced Seattle car accident lawyer will be able to guide and counsel families during this complex, challenging, and emotional process.