Connecticut residents certainly should know by now, with all the public service announcements and law enforcement efforts, that drunk or drugged driving is extremely dangerous.

Still, people inexplicably continue to choose to operate their vehicles after having too much to drink or after using other drugs. When they do so, they often cause serious and even fatal drunk driving accidents.

While the driver will likely face severe criminal penalties, the criminal justice system is not designed to get compensation to victims and their families. In order to receive full compensation, the victims will have to file a separate personal injury or wrongful death case.

A lawsuit can help a family receive compensation for things like medical bills, other expenses and lost wages. Additionally, a victim may be able to ask compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering or emotional damages.

Additionally, in Connecticut, a victim can recover double or treble damages, which are a type of punitive damages, in certain circumstances. What this means is that, if a judge agrees to the award, the victim can receive either twice or three times the compensation he or she would otherwise receive.

Sometimes, it may be difficult to collect compensation from a drunk driver. For instance, the driver may not have a lot of insurance and may also not have any other way of paying.

Fortunately, like many other states, Connecticut has a so-called Dram Shop law which allows victims of drunk drivers to sue those who sold the alcohol to the drunk driver. If the victim can prove his or her case, he or she can recover up to an additional $250,000 from the establishment.

Other options may be available depending on one’s circumstances.  Victims and their families can discuss these options with their attorney.