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DUI-Related Car Accident: Filing An Injury Lawsuit On A Drunk Driver

Can you file an injury lawsuit on the drunk driver after a DUI-related car accident?

The short answer is yes.

Every state in the country has laws that prohibit people from driving a car while they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

DUI accidents can negatively affect everyone involved, and sometimes, the damage can last a lifetime — or even result in wrongful death.

If you have been the victim of a DUI-related car accident, the fallout ain’t too pretty.

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Time off work
  • Medical issues

Not to mention the pain from your injuries.

Most of the time, the driver’s insurance company will pay for damages. However, there are several instances when a car accident settlement will not give you enough money to cover all of your out-of-pocket expenses.

If you find yourself in financial hardship after your accident, your next course of action may be to sue for compensation.

Filing An Injury Lawsuit On A Drunk Driver After A DUI-Related Car Accident

If you were hurt or injured in any way, you can take the drunk driver to civil court to try and receive compensation.

If children or other passengers were in the vehicle, they also have a valid car accident injury claim.

Here is a look at some of the most common types of people that decide to sue after a DUI accident:

  • Pedestrians that were hit by a drunk driver
  • The driver of the car that was hit by a drunk driver
  • A passenger that was in the same car as the drunk driver during the accident
  • Passengers in a car that was hit by a drunk driver
  • A family member of a person that was killed by a drunk driver

No-Fault States

There are currently about a dozen no-fault states in the country. If you live in one of these states, suing for compensation will be more difficult.

No-fault states require that everyone that is involved in a DUI-related car accident make a claim with their own insurance company.

Your insurance company will be liable for paying your medical bills and other expenses, no matter who was at fault.

There are instances, however, where a victim in a DUI case can still sue the drunk driver for the accident.

Many no-fault states allow the victim to still pursue compensation in civil court if they have severe injuries. The definition of “severe injuries” can vary from state to state. So, if you live in a no-fault state, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer who specializes in DUI-related car accidents and injury claims. You will need to talk to a personal injury lawyer — NOT a DUI lawyer.

Pure Negligence States

If you live in a pure negligence state, you can sue for compensation in civil court after you have been involved in a DUI accident. You will need to prove that the person who caused the accident acted in a negligent way. This is especially easy to prove if there has been a conviction.

Can a Judge Grant Me Compensation During the Defendant’s Criminal Case?

Usually, the person that has been charged with a DUI will have to go to court to receive proper punishment for their crime. The main reason for this court case is to protect the public from the defendant. Oftentimes, a judge will make an order that will deter the defendant from making the same mistake again. The judge can also decide to put the defendant in jail, which would temporarily remove them from the public.

While the criminal case will focus mainly on the crime that was committed, a judge could order the defendant to pay for the damages that occurred during the accident (this is called restitution).

Restitutions that are granted in a criminal case are often limited in what they will cover. Usually, the victim does not receive enough money to cover all of their medical bills and damages.

Also, the judge in a criminal case will usually not include lost wages and pain and suffering in the judgment.

Can I Still Sue for Compensation if I am Awarded Restitution in a Criminal Case?

The simple answer to this is yes, however, this answer is conditional.

If you have already been granted restitution for certain aspects of the accident, you cannot sue for additional compensation for the same thing.

For example, if the judge in the criminal case granted restitution so that you could pay your medical bills, you will not be able to sue for the cost of those same medical bills in the civil suit.

What you can do, however, is file a lawsuit for other damages that were caused as a result of the accident.

For instance, you could ask for compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, or any other physical or mental suffering that was not taken into account during the criminal case.

Get Help After A DUI-Related Car Accident

Being involved in a DUI-related car accident can be scary and overwhelming.

If you have been injured in a DUI accident and you think that you deserve compensation, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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