In Montana, when a drunk driver causes injuries to other parties, the criminal court could order the driver to pay the victims some dollar amount to cover damages. However, the court-ordered restitution may not be enough to compensate for the medical bills and all of the pain and suffering experienced by the injured parties. A personal injury lawsuit might be necessary to achieve the best possible outcome.
That may be the case after a multi-vehicle crash in Helena. The 27-year-old woman who was drunk and caused the accident was initially charged with vehicular assault, but she ended up pleading guilty to a reduced charge of criminal endangerment. As part of her sentence, she will have to pay restitution to the three other injured motorists involved in the crash.
The accident, which happened back in February, sent four people, including the drunk driver, to the hospital. The Montana Highway Patrol conducted an investigation and determined that the woman attempted a left turn and collided with oncoming vehicles. This DUI was her third in the last five years.
The amount of restitution owed to the other injured parties hasn't yet been decided. In terms of the drunk driver's negligence, her criminal conviction could bolster any personal injury claims filed by the victims.
For most people, it's difficult to imagine the physical and financial struggles that follow a serious auto accident. When this kind of life-changing event occurs, consulting with a personal injury attorney is a sure way of establishing exactly what your rights and responsibilities are.
Source: kbzk.com, "Helena woman sentenced for multi-car DUI crash," Melissa Anderson, May 1, 2013