Under Connecticut law, drunk drivers and the bars or restaurants that served them can be held liable in civil court if the driver's actions caused another person's injuries. Proving liability can be a complex matter, though, and the families of victims often don't know where to turn, especially if their loved one died while riding in a car with an intoxicated driver.
It is possible, however, to receive compensation from a drunk driver's insurance company, as well as pursue punitive damages in addition to compensation for medical bills and other costs resulting from a drunk driver's actions.
In September, a Bridgeport man died a few days after the car he was riding in hit a street sign and a tree before rolling into some woods in Norwalk. The driver was a Weston man who is now charged with a number of crimes, including manslaughter.
A crash investigation determined that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, and it remains to be seen whether or not the family of the deceased victim will seek to hold the driver accountable beyond criminal court.
We've written before about lenient sentences being given to drivers who have hit and killed innocent parties. One purpose of a wrongful death claim is for grieving families to receive the full measure of justice. If a restaurant, bar or nightclub over-served a visibly intoxicated person who later drove and caused a fatality, then a wrongful death claim could also work to hold the drinking establishment liable for damages.
Source: The Weston Forum, "Weston man faces manslaughter charges in Norwalk car accident," Patricia Gay, Oct. 23, 2013