Just in the past week, we’ve had three drunk driving deaths and it’s nothing short of devastating. One of the cases was a FoodPanda rider who died after the deceased’s motorbike was struck from behind by a 21-year-old drunk driver.
Mohamed Zaili leaves behind five children and his widow who revealed that he took on multiple jobs just to support his family. What will happen to them now?
Well, Mufarwa Farid, a lawyer, explained in a Facebook post that while the fine a drunk driver pays is not given to the victim’s family, the family can still sue the driver in civil court.
Meaning the family members can bring the driver in a separate case to the civil court. Malaysian law states that any family member who suffers from another person’s death has the right to sue. And this will allow the innocent family to support themselves.
Here are five claims the deceased’s family can ask the drunk driver.
1. Dependency Claim
This is where the deceased’s family claim that the drunk driver pays a sum of money that the deceased could’ve provided his family until the age of 55. This right is in Section 7 (3) of the Civil Laws Act 1956.
“For example if the deceased provided RM2,500 a month to support his family. Therefore, the victim’s member can ask the driver to provide this amount monthly until the deceased reaches a supposed age of 55.”
Whether or not, the remuneration calculation is accepted, is up to the judge handling the case.
2. Bereavement Claim
Quite literal to its name, this claim can be made towards the drunk driver who caused extreme grief towards the victims’ family. Whether you’re a husband, wife or child of the victim, you’ll definitely feel sorrow once they leave you.
Note: This claim cannot be more than RM30,000.
3. Loss Of Support
This claim is a little different from a dependency claim as it doesn’t involve monetary support. For example, if a husband lost his wife who took care of their small kid, the father can then claim his loss of support towards the drunk driver.
This claim can only be done if the deceased did a gratuitous act (meaning their good deed was done without a reason) which in the case of a mother and child, it obviously is.
4. Estate Claim
This claim can be done if the victim of a drunk driving accident is still alive or has passed away. It’s a claim of the injuries suffered by the victim. This right is in Section 8 (5) of the Civil Laws Act 1956.
However, this claim solely depends on the doctor’s medical report.
Only a certified doctor’s medical report will be able to determine the level of pain the victim went through. Families can claim any pain, suffering and loss of body parts the victim suffered. The numbers aren’t specific, and families can put any amount they want. However, the ultimate decision and amount will be determined by the judge.
In this case, the family could also claim hospital bills, transport money and car repair money involved in the accident.
5. Legal Fees Claim
As we’re all well aware of, legal services aren’t cheap and if the victim or their family go through and sue the drunk driver, it will require a hefty sum of money. If the victim’s family win their case, they can also file for the drunk driver to cover their legal fees.
Farid added that the Dependency, Loss Of Support and Bereavement claims should be done in a three-year period of the accident. For Estate claim, the period for commencement of the suit is 6 years after death.
If the victim’s family wins the court case but the driver refuses to pay the claims they’re supposed to, here’s what the family can do:
- Ask the Court to direct PDRM to seize all the drivers’ assets and goods, auction it till the money suffices
- Anyone who owes the driver money, the debt should be paid to the victim’s family henceforth
- Any shares the driver has can be sold
- The family can request the court to declare the driver as bankrupt in case the claims come up to more than RM50,000
While at the end of the day, no amount of money can bring back the deceased, these are just ways the families can support themselves. To those who feel drinking and driving is “cool”, just remember your carelessness can cost a family to lose everything they have in the blink of an eye.
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