Hit By A Drunk Driver? Your Personal Injury Case Will Be Affected
Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense in every part of the country. As a result, when an intoxicated driver is involved in an accident, a criminal charge and conviction are most likely to follow. However, what should not be assumed is that the accident victim will be compensated for the losses they have experienced as a result of the accident.
Criminal vs. Civil
If the driver is charged with a DUI at the scene of the accident and later convicted, don't assume that this judgment will have an automatic effect on your claim. A DUI is handled through a criminal court and personal injury cases are handled through a civil process.
While the DUI charge and conviction can help you prove fault for your damages, the court will not automatically initiate a personal injury case on your behalf. It is still up to you to file an official claim in civil court. In the same token, you must also adhere to the statute of limitations and other guidelines imposed for personal injury claims.
In some instances, a person involved in an accident might not be charged with a DUI right away. Sometimes, the charges are delayed. Again, a charge against the driver can help you determine fault, which will make winning your claim a lot easier.
For this reason, if you suspected that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident, you need to follow the accident report to see if the driver was later charged so that you can add this to your injury claim. If you hire an attorney, they will take care of this process for you.
If the driver of the vehicle is convicted of DUI, you might be able to add a component to your claim known as intentional misconduct. An intentional misconduct accusation is very similar to a gross neglect accusation in that it allows you to be awarded additional compensation given the circumstances as part of the personal injury claim.
However, it doesn't require the same legal threshold in terms of the level of damage or injuries sustained by the victim. Whenever a person drinks alcohol and gets behind the wheel, any damages or injuries caused by their actions is thought to be intentional.
If you believe you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, reach out to a drunk driving injury attorney as soon as possible.