An accident attributed to Driving Under Influence (DUI) inevitably leaves a mark in a society. A product of imprudent behavior and selfishness affecting vigilant individuals of all ages, drunk driving accidents have claimed a number of lives worldwide and have inflicted injuries and damages. Where did the punchline, ‘Drink responsibly’ go?
The next question is, ‘What do I do now?’, an insubstantial yet common question among victims and surviving family members. An inquiry which technically means:
- ‘Who will pay for my medical bills?’
- ‘How can I make a living with these injuries?’
- ‘How will my family cope?’
- ‘How do I seek justice for what happened to my loved one?’
- ‘Will justice be served?’
- ‘Will they be given the punishment they deserve?’
- ‘How much compensation will I be entitled to?’
- ‘Is it guaranteed that I could win this civil lawsuit?’
The Process Begins
Allegations for the driver’s criminal behavior is brought about by appropriate law enforcement groups. They will then work with the U.S attorney’s office to file a criminal case against the driver. It should be noted that only the government commences a criminal case. To prove that the driver has committed a crime against the laws of the state, they must be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The state may not always win, but it doesn’t bear any credit when a civil lawsuit is filed. However, evidences used by the state may also be used to prove the driver’s carelessness toward the victim which resulted to the accident.
The Need For Legal Help
Seeking compensation for a drunk driving accident primarily requires hiring a civil lawyer for the lawsuit, as well as medical and economic experts. The next step in the process is to conduct intensive investigation to gather all the evidences to be used in the case.
These includes official police reports with breath analyzer result, forensic evidences such as an open bottle of liquor, video footages such as vehicle dash cam and closed-circuit television camera, eyewitness testimony, testimony from the bartender or valet of the establishment, and lastly, the driver’s own testimony from the interview, social media posts or text messages during that time.
A civil lawyer will make sure you will be awarded with your rightful civil claims. Discover this info here. Acquired evidences are essential for building the civil lawsuit. Accident reconstructionist play a big role in proving the negligence of the driver. The actual incident rendered in the computer is admissible in court.
It’s also the legal team’s job to find all potential sources that could provide the compensation entitled to the victim. This is why hiring experienced and highly reputable members of your lawsuit team is a great advantage to guarantee you winning the case.
Your Location Matters
Depending on the state, Dram Shop Law and Social Host Liability Law will also be imposed. Draw Shop Law states that the potential liability is transferred to establishments like bars, restaurants, or pubs if they serve alcohol to someone underage or visibly intoxicated and that person causes an accident after leaving their establishment.
Whereas the Social Host Liability Law is when a person provides alcohol to be consumed in their home or at a party they’re hosting. The host assumes responsibility if an impaired driver leaves the party and causes an accident.
Losses And Compensation
Further action is to focus on your losses, may it be financial or non-financial. Your personal insurance may be temporarily used to pay your medical bills. But all must be thoroughly accounted for in order to be presented in court for claims. Economic losses include loss of wages and loss of earning capacity, while non-economic losses include trauma, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and emotional distress.
The repercussions of an accident are traumatic, even in mild cases. Seeking compensation requires reiterating the sequence of events. Your testimony will be the most awaited part of the hearing. It can be taxing and may trigger Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Informing your civil lawyer is wise so medical consultations and procedures will be given for further justification for your requested compensation.
Taking All Into Account
Regardless of the criminal case outcome, the challenge in the civil lawsuit is to prove how liable the driver is to the victim. The calculated total expenses paid, damages, and losses will be presented by the civil lawyer and hired experts. The evidences and testimony are the pivotal point in determining the compensation to which you may be entitled.
Punitive damages are sought to punish the individual responsible for the accident. It must be noted that the compensation for a non-fatal accident and wrongful death are different.