Along with major criminal charges, people who cause the serious injury or death of another person while drunk driving can face civil lawsuits as well. A victim may file suit seeking financial compensation to help pay for medical bills, repair property damage, or to enact punitive actions against the drunk driver. It is very important for everyone to understand their rights during a DUI related civil lawsuit. Here are some tips that you should follow if you are in this situation.
Check Your State’s Laws
A drunk diver’s vulnerability to a lawsuit varies significantly depending on the state. Some states have “no fault” laws that can make it very difficult to sue a drunk driver unless the damage passes a certain threshold. If the impact of the drunk driver’s actions was limited to relatively minor bodily harm, or damage to one’s vehicle, then a civil suit may be out of the question. Other states have “pure negligence” laws, which allow far more flexibility in terms of suing a drunk driver. In these states, drunk drivers may be found liable for thousands of even millions of dollars in damages in certain situations. Reasons for damages that can be filed include wrongful death, pain and suffering, lost wages, and compensation for hospital bills.
Hire an Attorney
Call an attorney right away, before even contacting the drunk driver’s insurance company. A qualified DUI attorney will know the ins and outs of your state’s DUI-related laws (Source: Rutter and Sleeth Law Offices). DUI civil suits can be very complex, so having a reputable lawyer is a must. If you are planning to file a lawsuit, they can help you calculate the amount of damages that you will seek. Do some research and find the best and most experienced DUI lawyers in your area. DUI lawsuit firms can fund your case and may even refrain from collecting fees unless you receive a payment. Expect to be in it for the long haul. DUI suits may take months or even years to resolve. In many cases, they are ultimately settled out of court.
Having a DUI is a very serious situation that can have a severe impact on the lives of everyone involved. You need to be well informed about your legal rights. By educating yourself, you can increase your chances for a positive outcome. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, knowing your rights will help you find the best path forward.