Despite decades of public safety campaigns hammering home the harms of drinking and driving, some motorists still get behind the wheel after having a few too many, endangering themselves and everyone else on the road.

When drunk driving leads to catastrophic or fatal crashes, the intoxicated driver can face both criminal DUI charges and civil claims for damages. Though you might assume a two-pronged approach offers the best chance for justice, concurrent criminal and civil DUI actions can make recovering fair compensation for a wrongful death claim more challenging.

The Law Office of Matthew A. Lathrop overcame these obstacles in a tragic case involving a certified nursing assistant (CNA) killed by a drunk driver. Read on to learn how we harnessed the power of good old-fashioned sleuthing to resolve the case and obtain a recovery for the victim’s mother.

The Accident

Late one evening, a drunk driver ran a red light and plowed through a busy intersection, causing a fatal crash that sent ripples of devastation through the community.

The victim was our client, a 27-year-old CNA on her way home after a long shift at a skilled nursing facility where she was beloved by patients, their families, and her coworkers.

We interviewed numerous people who told us how much she loved her job and how good she was at it. Our client didn’t care that being a CNA wasn’t considered a glamorous job; she had a heart for helping patients.

She also meant everything to her mother, an over-the-road truck driver who came to see us while in town settling her daughter’s final affairs. The grieving mother asked for our help and we filed a wrongful death claim on her behalf.

The Investigation

Plaintiffs’ attorneys for catastrophic injury and wrongful death claims are usually able to access the police report on the incident for essential information we can use to start building the case.

However, because the defendant in our wrongful death claim was also being criminally prosecuted for DUI, law enforcement was forbidden from sharing even basic evidence with us.

This challenge required our team to go back to the very basics of investigative work. We pounded the pavement at the crash site, tracking down physical evidence and witnesses to prove that the defendant was under the influence and ran a red light, resulting in the fatal accident.

The Resolution

At the conclusion of our investigation, we submitted the physical evidence, witness statements, and other relevant information to the defendant and victim’s insurance carriers. After reviewing the evidence, both insurers settled with our client, the CNA’s mother, for full policy limits.

While no amount of compensation could replace the loss of a loving daughter, the policy limit settlements were able to provide our client with a sense of justice and peace of mind.

We Can Help You Fight for the Justice and Compensation You Deserve

If someone you love was killed in an accident they didn’t cause, you need a compassionate and experienced wrongful death lawyer to help you understand your rights, explore options for compensation, and navigate the complex civil recovery process. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.

Contact our Nebraska wrongful death attorney today to request a free, no-obligation initial consultation.


Matthew (Matt) Lathrop
Experienced injury lawyer serving accident victims in Nebraska and Omaha. Expert in focus group trial prep.