Drunk driving accident results in restitution and sentencing

Woman sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $1.38 million restitution

A Fayetteville woman who fatally hit a Fort Bragg soldier with her vehicle in 2012 and then fled the scene has been sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay $1.38 million in restitution, according to the Fayetteville Observer. The woman pleaded guilty in September to involuntary manslaughter and driving while impaired.

Stopped at checkpoint

The incident occurred on December 8, 2012 while the soldier was returning to his barracks from a nearby convenience store. He was crossing Bragg Boulevard when he was struck by the impaired driver. The soldier was wearing a training jacket with a reflective strip at the time; however, the driver was travelling at 75mph in a 50mph and did not apply the vehicle brakes.

She was later stopped at an impaired driving checkpoint operated by Fort Bragg law enforcement officials. Her blood alcohol level of 0.25 was more than three times the legal limit.

The woman told the officers that she thought she might have hit something and officials later found the soldier's body 1.4 miles away.

Compensation for drunk driving victims

North Carolina law provides different forms of compensation to victims of drunk driving accidents.

Victims who have been injured by an impaired driver or whose loved one was killed in a drunk driving accident may be able to sue the impaired driver for both punitive and compensatory damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the offender for his or her reckless behavior and compensatory damages are designed to cover the costs, such as medical bills, loss of income, and other expenses, that may arise after an auto accident.

North Carolina is also one of a number of states with dram shop laws. Dram shop laws require businesses that sell alcohol, such as bars, restaurants, and liquor stores, to ensure that a customer is not a minor and that he is not already visibly inebriated. An establishment that sells alcohol to such an individual who is later involved in a fatal drunk driving accident can be held liable for the crash.

Seeking legal advice

Because North Carolina law allows for a variety of compensatory claims to be filed by victims of drunk driving accidents, it is imperative for such victims to consult with a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer will be able to inform the client about what liability issues are at stake in a DWI accident and what forms of compensation may be available to the victim.