If you’ve been involved in an accident with a drunk driver, do you know that the law allows you to receive compensation for your injuries?
While drunk drivers can face serious legal ramifications, with penalties including restitution and jail time, they can also face civil liability. If you or a loved one is injured or even killed by a drunk driver, a civil suit may be your best path to recover damages for your losses.
A civil suit for drunk driving is a separate legal act from any criminal proceedings a drunk driver may face from the government. Criminal proceedings are designed to protect the public from future harm by acting as a deterrent to drunk driving, as well as to punish the drunk driver for acting in a reckless manner.
A drunk driver can face criminal prosecution – even if there is no accident or injury involved.
The case might come in the form of an injury lawsuit filed by the victim of a drunk driver or, in the case of a fatality, filed by the victim’s next of kin, in an effort to recover damages. If you are injured by a drunk driver, a civil suit could be your only recourse when attempting to recover the costs of medical treatment, lost wages, damaged property or other economic damages. Civil suits, depending upon the law of your jurisdiction, also may offer the opportunity to recover non-economic damages.
In most states (including Georgia and Alabama) you are generally free to sue a drunk driver for the injuries you sustained. In personal injury drunk driving cases, you must simply prove fault as you would in any other civil suit.
On the surface, civil suits against drunk drivers seem like slam dunk. However, defense attorneys and insurance companies spend significant amounts of time and money defending such cases. So, winning a settlement is never as easy as it should be.
Wrongful Death and Drunk Driving
If a loved one is killed by a drunk driver, the family can file a civil suit for wrongful death on behalf of the loved one’s estate. A wrongful death suit is often a mechanism employed by family members to ensure that those surviving the deceased, have some financial stability.
Wrongful death suits are a variation on a standard personal injury negligence lawsuit and generally follow the same road map. Both economic and non-economic damages are available, and some states may allow punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are arbitrary amounts awarded with the sole intent of punishing the drunk driver and deterring future drunk driving incidents.
If you want to learn more about how to pursue action against a drunk driver, please contact Miller & Wynn. Our locally-based attorneys have decades of experience. Please contact Mike Miller or Christopher L. Wynn for a free consultation at 770-942-2720 or visit www.MillerWynnLaw.com.