A man driving a van admitted he was drinking before he crashed into a Chevrolet Cavalier. The driver of the Chevrolet died in the drunk driving accident. His passenger suffered from serious injuries and was in critical condition. According to local news reports, the van crossed onto the wrong side of the road at about 10:30 p.m. and hit the Chevrolet head on. Police needed to cut both victims out with the Jaws of Life. The van driver was charged with felony driving under the influence. He could also face additional charges such as vehicular manslaughter.
If the deceased victim's family and the injured victim decide to sue the van driver, the van driver could be ordered to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded when negligent behavior, such as driving under the influence, is part of the accident equation. California has strict drunk driving laws, and punitive damages are supposed to be a deterrent to drunk driving.
Drunk drivers could cause death or catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury, head injury, brain injury and multiple fractures, often disabling the victim for life. A person that is disabled for life may not ever be able to work again. Families lose a lot when a person is killed in a drunk driving accident or when a family member becomes disabled for life including income provided by that person, and in the case of a death, the love, nurturing and caring that the deceased provided to the family.
Source: Channel 30 News, "Head-on crash in Fresno County leaves one dead," Tommy Tran, Mar. 5, 2012