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Teen Killed in Ocean County DUI Accident

Driving under the influence is one of the leading causes of all motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey. Not only that, but DUI accidents are responsible for about one-third of all motor vehicle accidents in the state. Despite these sobering statistics, in New Jersey alone, more than 26,500 people are arrested and charged for driving under the influence each year.

Details of the DUI Accident That Led to the Teen’s Death

Recently, a teenager lost her life in an Ocean County DUI accident after the driver of the vehicle she was riding in as a passenger crashed into a center median before flipping over onto its roof. The driver of the vehicle, an 18-year-old from Toms River, has since been charged with vehicular homicide. 

According to a recent news report, the accident occurred in Manchester Township on April 14, 2024, at around 3 a.m. Evidently, police received a report that a Mazda 3 had collided with a center median and overturned. When police arrived, they found at least two of the five occupants were injured. These victims were transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where they were treated and released. Sadly, a third passenger died as a result of the injuries she sustained. 

Police subsequently took the driver’s blood, finding that she had a blood-alcohol content of .099, It was also later determined that she was under the influence of marijuana. Ocean County prosecutors have filed vehicular manslaughter charges against the driver. 

Legal Options for Seeking Compensation in DUI Accident Cases

While the driver responsible for the accident is facing criminal charges, a criminal case will do little to provide meaningful financial support to the victim’s family. This is because the objective of a criminal trial is to punish the defendant for violating the law, in this case, the state’s DUI statute. 

However, grieving families can pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover financial compensation for their losses. While every case is different, damages awards in a Lakewood wrongful death case may include compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include things such as funeral and medical expenses, loss of income and support, and loss of inheritance. Non-economic damages include things such as loss of companionship and pain and suffering. In some cases, courts may award punitive damages as well, which are intended to deter similar conduct in the future.  

The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Hiring a New Jersey personal injury attorney is crucial if you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. A personal injury attorney understands the laws and can help you get the DUI accident compensation you deserve. They will handle all the paperwork, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for your rights in court, if necessary. 

Without an attorney, you might not get the full amount you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Additionally, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay unless you win your case. This ensures your lawyer is motivated to obtain the best outcome possible.

Overview of Wrongful Death Claims in DUI Accidents

If a loved one dies in a DUI accident, you may be able to file an NJ wrongful death claim. While the DUI accident legal process can vary, it typically follows this process:

Determine Eligibility – Immediate family members, such as spouses, children, and parents, are usually eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

Gather Evidence – Collect evidence that shows the driver was under the influence and that their actions caused the accident. This can include police reports, witness statements, and toxicology results.

File the Claim – With the help of a Lakewood car accident attorney, file a wrongful death claim in civil court. This involves submitting legal documents that outline the accident, the driver’s fault, and the damages being sought.

Negotiation and Settlement – Often, the responsible party’s insurance company will negotiate a settlement. Your attorney will help ensure the offered amount is fair.

Trial (if necessary) – If a DUI accident settlement isn’t reached, the case may go to trial. Here, both sides present their evidence, and a judge or jury decides on the compensation amount.

Filing a wrongful death claim helps hold the responsible party accountable for your family’s loss and provides you with the financial support you need to ensure that you are not left paying for someone else’s tragic mistake. 

Speak with a New Jersey DUI Accident Lawyer Today

If a loved one recently died in a New Jersey DUI accident, contact the Lakewood personal injury firm of Bathweg, Wegener & Wolf, P.C. The attorneys at our firm have decades of experience representing clients in all types of car accident cases, including fatal accidents and DUI collisions. We command an unrivaled understanding of the New Jersey car accident laws and DUI accident lawsuit process and are immediately available to meet with you to discuss your case. For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact our office at (732) 363-0666. We will not bill you for our services unless we recover monetary damages on your behalf.