Car Accident Attorney
Being part of a car accident can be devastating enough, but when you add a drunk driver to the mix, things can turn tragic very quickly. Once a driver’s initial shock has gone down, he or she may start to feel angry towards the drunk driver for what happened. Driving while intoxicated is incredibly irresponsible, as others on the road may endure the consequences of this poor behavior. As the injuries begin to get more painful and medical bills pile higher, the victim in such an accident may ask themselves what they can do to sue the drunk driver for damages.
Q: Is it even possible to sue the drunk driver for the accident?
If you live in an at-fault state, then yes you can file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver. The drunk driver may not only have to face you in civil court, but a judge in criminal court as well. However, you will not be awarded compensation through the criminal case, so if you want to seek restitution for what happened this will have to be handled in civil court.
Those who live in a no-fault state, may still be able to recover costs for medical expenses and other losses. Cases that may be permitted in civil court are those in which the victim driver sustained serious injuries, that required expensive emergency medical intervention.
Q: What if my insurance company wants me to settle?
A: Insurance companies often want to settle claims as soon and cheaply as possible. The drunk driver’s insurance company may contact you and offer a settlement amount. If you accept, your lawsuit will not continue and you will be paid out through the other driver’s insurance. If you are still not sure what the extent of your injuries are going to be like long-term, you may not want to settle yet. If you accept the offer and then you find out your injuries were worse than you thought, you may have to pay for these bills out of your own pocket.
If you are feeling pressured to make a decision, you can meet with a lawyer in your area that is knowledgeable in personal injury cases like yours for advice. Until you have spoken with a legal professional, it is recommended that you do not sign any documents and hold off on providing an official statement for insurance-related representatives.
Q: How are civil lawsuits filed?
A: With help from a lawyer, the victim in the car accident can sue the drunk driver. Civil cases are filed as personal injury lawsuits by the victim, as a way to seek damages that resulted because of the auto collision. The victim may be entitled to recovering losses related to medical treatment, property damage, lost wages, and more. Before filing a civil lawsuit, you may want to consult with a DUI lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT so you are fully informed about the laws for your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions permit you to seek payment for emotional damages too, such as pain and suffering.
Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into personal injury claims and car accidents involving drunk drivers.