Have You or a Loved One Been in an Accident Involving a Drunk Driver?
According to statistics from MADD.org, every 53 minutes, someone is killed in a drunk driving accident. Every two minutes, someone is injured as a result of this preventable crime. Being hit by a drunk driver is a traumatic and fearsome experience for the victims. While drunk drivers can face serious criminal charges for their actions, they can also be sued by their victims in civil court. If you or a loved one is injured or killed by a drunk driver, you can sue in civil court to recover damages for your losses.
Filing a Civil Suit for a Drunk Driving Accident
Filing a civil suit in a drunk driving accident is a separate and unique process than what occurs in a criminal proceeding brought by the state, which is designed to protect the public from future harm and act as a deterrent to drunk driving. These civil proceedings are also intended to deter the drunk driver from repeating the offense and from behaving recklessly. As opposed to criminal proceedings, the victim of the drunk driving accident can bring a civil case. If there has been a fatality, the victim’s next of kin may bring the suit on behalf of the deceased. In personal injury suits against drunk drivers, you will have to prove fault just like you would have to do in any other negligence suit. If someone driving under the influence caused your accident, this is going to make the insurance company highly motivated to settle your case and avoid going to trial. When it comes to your settlement negotiation, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
In North Carolina, victims of drunk driving can pursue compensation in two ways:
- General compensatory awards for medical bills, lost wages, permanent injuries, and any pain and suffering resulting from the accident.
- Compensation in the form of punitive damages to punish the drunk driver who breached his or her legal duty to drive safely. The drunk driver is punished for gross negligent conduct. Punitive damages are often capped in most cases, but this is not the case with drunk driving accidents.
In order to have a strong case, make sure you document your injuries with photographs, keep the police report of the accident, and keep track of all medical bills and lost wages you have incurred so that the documentation will be available when it comes time to either settle your claim or go to trial. Civil suits against drunk drivers seem relatively easy to win, but the reality is that defense attorneys and insurance companies spend significant time and money in defending these suits. For example, if a drunk driver escapes conviction, punitive damages may not be awarded to the victim. These nuances in the law are best handled by someone with experience and skills.
Contact Our Experienced Charlotte Attorney
At Tatum Law Firm, attorney Brian Steed Tatum will explore every possible angle to ensure that victims and their families recover the maximum amount of compensation. Our firm has handled multiple DUI/DWI accident claims, and you can feel confident that we will take every possible measure to ensure that you get the most help with your short- and long-term recovery. Contact our law firm today at (704) 307-4350 for a free initial consultation.