Understanding Personal Injury Lawsuits After a Drunk Driving Accident
Did you know that, as of 2020, 290,000 people each year are injured in drunk driving accidents in the United States? The fatality rate is even bleaker – thirty people per day die in this type of car accident, one person every fifty minutes.
If you’ve been in a drunk driving accident, there are good odds that you’re looking to see if you have any legal options to pursue. We have good news for you – there are a lot of legal options for victims of drunk driving.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know about settlements and possible suits you could bring against someone for driving under the influence. All you need to do is read on.
Lawsuits for a Drunk Driving Accident
As well as criminal charges, there are multiple types of civil lawsuits you could bring against someone who was driving under the influence at the time they were at fault for your car crash.
Criminal proceedings and civil lawsuits are two separate and distinct things. Criminal charges are meant to punish the drunk driver for acting recklessly, as well as protect the public from future harm by acting as a deterrent. A drunk driver can be charged even if there is no car accident.
A civil case in a drunk driving accident comes in the form of filing a personal injury lawsuit. A civil lawsuit is potentially your only way to regain some of the things you lost because of the car crash. Depending on the law of where you are, you can even sue for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
When both parties share blame for the accident, your state’s negligence rules will come into play to determine who can file a lawsuit and how much you can recover. If you live in a pure comparative negligence state, such as California, you are free to pursue a civil lawsuit against the intoxicated driver who caused your injuries up to the extent of the other party’s fault.
In contrast, if you live in a modified comparative negligence state, such as Texas, you may file for a claim as long as you are 49% or less to blame for the accident.
If a loved one dies from a drunk driving accident, however, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This option ensures the deceased’s close family members are protected financially.
Settling Out of Court
Most drunk driving accident claims tend to settle out of court. This is because bringing a claim against someone who was driving under the influence often places the drunk driver’s insurance company responsible for paying. Insurers often try and avoid going to trial.
When the case’s facts are undisputed, an insurer will avoid going in front of a judge or jury. This is because people are very unsympathetic towards drunk drivers, something that most insurance companies know.
However, if the insurance company believes there is anything to dispute, you may end up going to trial. The insurer may find something to doubt about events or believe you are partially at fault.
Accepting a negotiated settlement out of court means you don’t have to take the risk of losing, no matter how small. This is ultimately up to you, as the victim of the auto accident.
However, always be sure to have an attorney look at any settlement offers the insurance may offer you. You want to be sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. You also want to be sure that you’re getting everything you’re entitled to.
Settling in Court
The fact of the matter is that every drunk driving accident case is slightly different. There are a lot of matters for you to consider while you calculate both economic and non-economic damages, such as all the expenses you’ve racked up. A good auto accident attorney will help make sure that you don’t miss any potential factors.
There are no one-size-fits-all estimates of how much money you’ll get. However, rest assured that your car accident lawyer will help you get everything you are entitled to.
There is a chance that the drunk driver could be forced to pay punitive damages. These are also called exemplary damages and are a form of punishment for the drunk driver. Possible punitive damages include acting out of malice, intent to harm, or being extremely negligent in their behavior.
As stated before, insurance companies or drunk drivers can fight back. Judges and juries, however, are extremely unsympathetic to the plight of drunk drivers.
Keep in mind that everything differs depending on the circumstances. Your accident attorney will do their best to get you the compensation you deserve.
Get a Free Consultation with Alpha Accident Lawyers
Now that you know all you need to know to handle the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, you may be ready to start looking for an attorney. You shouldn’t have to figure out the legal system on your own. Let an auto accident lawyer help you so you can handle the rest of it with friends and family.
At Alpha Accident Lawyers, we specialize in victims of car accidents and can help you get everything you are legally entitled to.
Schedule a consultation today.