Every year, 10,000 lives are lost to drunk driving collisions in the United States. These incidents account for almost one-third of all traffic-related incidents in the nation annually. Although legislation has grown stricter over the decades, the problem still remains as inebriated drivers continue to disregard other motorists’ and pedestrians’ safety, as well as their own. If you have been one of the many victims of drunk driving collisions, you have the right to pursue legal action against the negligent driver. The experienced Virginia car accident lawyers at Rutter Mills have provided an important video in truly understanding the difference in a DUI case as compared to other, non-alcohol-related car accidents.
What Distinguishes DUIs from Other Auto Collisions?
Like most other vehicle accidents, you have the right to receive compensation for any injuries and damages you incurred in a drunk driving auto collision. Here is where the primary similarities lie between accidents that involve alcohol and those that do not. Damages you can request include medical expenses, lost wages, and costs related to property damage, all of which you can secure by filing a lawsuit and insurance claim against the negligent driver.
However, this is one of the many points at which a drunk driving incident may differ. Instead of exclusively holding the defendant responsible for the damages inflicted upon you, you can also assign liability to the individual who sold the defendant alcohol before the crash. This is allowed by the Dram Shop Law; however, the extent to which you can invoke this legislation depends on the state you reside in. Consult your lawyer to determine whether this law is applicable to your accident.
Drivers convicted of DUIs will also face much more severe consequences than those in other auto accidents. If their actions while inebriated resulted in injuries to you or other drivers and passengers, they can be held criminally liable, as opposed to facing civil charges alone. In a civil case (applicable to most car accidents), the victim can pursue monetary damages from the at-fault driver, and the court will issue an order specifying the defendant’s required actions after the incident. The driver may also face jail time and fines in a civil case.
On the other hand, a criminal case will result in a longer jail sentence for the defendant, as well as a longer period of license suspension. They will also be responsible for paying higher fines. Depending on the case’s details, the state or federal government may press charges against the defendant in addition to those presented by you. Ultimately, they can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Additional Differences in a DUI Case
Lastly, in a DUI case, you are far less likely to have to endure your insurer’s attempts to invalidate your claim. Documentation surrounding your case will clearly show the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC), for example, and there will also be arrest records to accompany the police report and your testimony. The abundance of evidence surrounding drunk driving incidents can make your case much more straightforward; however, you may still face litigation challenges along the way.
To ease the process of filing a claim against a drunk driver after the collision, get in touch with a car accident lawyer. They will investigate your case and gather as much evidence as possible, demonstrating the full extent of the negligent driver’s liability, and ensure you get the compensation you need to move forward with your life. Contact a lawyer today to get started.