An employee of Clemson University faces a civil wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a DUI charge.
David Robert Lee, age 37, was charged with a DUI first-offense after he struck a 79-year-old woman who was crossing Main Street in downtown Greenville on March 8, 2019.
On that date, Virginia Byrne and her husband Leonard Byrne were crossing the street, when they noticed Lee approaching them in a Ford pickup truck. Leonard waved at Lee to get him to stop, and tapped the passenger side window to tell Lee to stop. Virginia followed behind Leonard as he proceeded to cross the street.
Lee apparently seemed agitated at having to stop for pedestrians. As Leonard approached his front door, he heard the truck accelerate. He then heard a thump and a loud scream. Leonard turned around to find his wife motionless and lying on the ground.
When officers arrived on scene, Lee refused to take a breathalyzer test. A dashcam video shows Lee performing various field sobriety tests under the direction of law enforcement. He was then placed in handcuffs. Lee told police he saw Leonard cross the street but did not see Virginia.
Lee faces charges of a first DUI, but his charges could be upgraded to felony DUI Involuntary Manslaughter.
Lee has also been sued by Leonard Byrne in civil court for the death of his wife.
Civil Damages from DUI Charges
When a person is arrested following an alleged drinking and driving incident, he or she faces serious criminal penalties. Most people understand this already.
What many people do not know is that a separate civil lawsuit could be filed for damages and injuries related to the incident.
Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases are filed by injured people who claim that the negligence of another caused him or her harm. This can include:
future medical bills;
property damage costs;
car rental invoices; and
other money damages.
It can also include other types of non-pecuniary claims, such as:
pain and suffering;
loss of enjoyment of life;
loss of consortium (loss of sexual intercourse and companionship with spouse);
Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases are filed when a victim dies. The family of the victim can then file this type of claim to obtain money damages from the person responsible for the death, including:
loss of consortium;
Why This Is Important in Your Criminal Case
Knowing the risks pertaining to a potential civil suit is an important consideration in your criminal case. A plea of guilty, or a finding of guilty at trial, could be used as evidence against you in a civil trial.
This means you could face serious financial penalties from the civil lawsuit, in addition to whatever you face in terms of criminal penalties.
Consult an Experienced Virginia Dui Attorney
If you or someone you care about has been charged with DUI or a DUI-related offense, there are very serious consequences that may result from a conviction.
To protect your rights, you need experienced Virginia attorney Bryan J. Jones to defend your case. Every case is unique and just because you are charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in your case.