Drunk Driver Receives Prison Sentence for Bicyclist Accident
On an early August morning in 2007, then 24-year-old Adam Lamothe made a really bad decision. After drinking more than his fill at a local Concord restaurant, Lamothe decided to get into his car and drive himself home. However, he would not make it very far before running into the back of not one, but two parked cars.
Hitting the two parked vehicles did little to slow him down. It did not make him get out of the car and decide he should not drive any further. Instead, Lamothe continued his path of destruction down Main Street where he would hit and seriously injure two bicyclists.
One of the bicyclists - Adam Boyer - suffered life-threatening injuries and now must live with a traumatic brain injury that has forever altered his life and relationships with those he loves. He can no longer take care of himself and must rely on others to help him complete the most basic of tasks.
The other bicyclist, Daniel Gallant, also received serious injuries and faces a lifetime of chronic back and leg pain as a result of being hit from behind by Lamothe.
Lamothe, who had a 0.17 BAC at the time of the accident, was charged and eventually convicted of aggravated driving while intoxicated. It took nearly two-and-a-half years before Lamothe finally received a 2-7 year prison sentence from a Massachusetts judge for his horrific acts. Lamothe's attorney requested a suspended sentence for the Lamothe, unsuccessfully arguing that his young life would be ruined by a prison sentence.
The judge, however, justly pointed out that the consequences Lamothe must live with for his actions are nothing compared to the consequences his victims now must learn to live with for the remainder of their lives. In a letter to the court, Adam Boyer said that he wishes he had died in the accident rather than have to live with his injuries, which ruined his marriage and relationship with his children.Victims' Stories Not Unique
One of the most troubling aspects of the Lamothe case is that the victims' stories in this accident are shared by so many others. In 2008, nearly 12,000 people nationally were killed in accidents caused by drunk drivers. Locally, 124 people lost their lives on Massachusetts roadways as a result of an alcohol-impaired driver.
Statistically, it is estimated that three out of every 10 Americans will have the unfortunate luck to be a party to a drunk driving crash at some point during their lives. This is an unacceptably high number of lives that will forever be altered for the worse by one person's careless and selfish acts.Legal Rights of DUI Accident Victims
Those who have been harmed by the acts of a drunk driver have legal options available to them under Massachusetts law, including the right to file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver. Unlike a criminal case which seeks to punish a drunk driver for violating the law, the purpose of a civil suit is to help victims recover compensation for their injuries and losses as a result of the driver's negligent acts.Some of the types of damages a DUI victim may recover include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages and loss of earning potential
- Permanent disability and disfigurement
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Drunk driving accidents often result in catastrophic injuries or even death. In cases where a loved one loses his or her life as the result of an intoxicated driver, the family has the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the damages that may be available in a wrongful death claim include funeral expenses, lost wages and medical expenses.
Depending on the factual circumstances, victims of drunk driving accidents may file a claim against other parties besides the driver for their injuries. For example, if the driver left a bar or other establishment that served him or her alcohol, the establishment may share in the legal liability for the accident. If the drunk driver was operating someone else's car at the time of the accident, the vehicle's owner also may be liable for any injuries caused by the driver.
DUI accident victims and their families do not have to wait for the conclusion of the criminal case against the responsible driver before bringing a civil claim.Conclusion
Drunk drivers are responsible for thousands of deaths on our nation's roadways every year. These accidents often result in horrific injuries to innocent people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
For more information on your legal rights following an accident with a drunk driver, contact an experienced attorney today. There is a limited amount of time to file a civil claim against the responsible driver.