My mom was in a fatal car accident about two weeks ago. The cause of the crash was the other driver, whom swerved into her lane. However, my mom had been drinking, and was driving on a suspended license. My father is awaiting the police report, but he needed to know whether it was necessary to hire a laywer for this case, considering the other person's family is trying to pin the blame upon my mom. Please and thank you.
2 Answers from Attorneys
Just because a person was driving drunk does NOT necessarily mean that he was at fault.
You'd hire a lawyer if (1) you got sued or (2) you wanted to sue the other guy for wrongful death.
It's not clear from your question whether the person who died was your mother, the other driver or someone else. It sounds like your mother was the one who was killed, and if that's the case I'm terribly sorry for your loss.
Whether your mother survived the crash or not, it is possible that the other people involved will sue her or her estate. There should be no to hire a defense lawyer unless and until you receive at least some sort of demand from the other side. You should also tender any such demand to your mother's insurance company; it will probably deny her claim because of the suspended license, but this is still worth a shot.
At the same time, your family may want to sue the other driver. If you are considering this option I recommend at least consulting with a lawyer about your rights.
Bear in mind that each side may have reason to sue the other. Your family might be able to hire a lawyer on a contingent fee basis to pursue your claims, but the lawyer will probably insist on being paid for defending you from the other side's lawsuit.
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