Dec 17, 2015

Understand Your Legal Options When Hit By A Drunk Driver

If you are hit by a drunk driver, then there are very good chances of getting a compensation for injuries that you have suffered from. Also, in most states, you are allowed to file a civil lawsuit against the offender.
Usually, injuries caused by drunk drivers are subject to civil suits. As a result, the offender will not only face serious criminal charges like penalties and jail time, but will also face civil liability, if the victim chooses to sue them. So, if you or your loved one was hit by a drunk driver, always consult an experienced lawyer to determine your best options, and also to recover from damages you suffered.

Civil suits vs. criminal proceedings:
Criminal proceedings are to make sure no further damage is caused to public. The driver is punished for acting recklessly. Also, the offender may face criminal trial even if no injuries were caused.

On the other hand, a civil case is like an injury lawsuit, which is either filed by the victim or in case of fatality is filed by the victim’s family. This case is filled in order to recover from medical bills, lost wages, loss because of property damage, and any other economic damage. Most states also allow the victim to file a claim for their general damages (pain and suffering).

No-fault states:
If you live in a no-fault state, then there are certain limits determined before you can file a case against the offender. For instance, if the severity of your damage is extreme, then you can proceed with filing a case. This means, even if the drunk driver has clearly damaged your property and injured you, you still cannot go further with the suit, unless necessary limitations are met. If the damage that you suffered from is minimal, then you will be forced to file a claim against your own insurance company and no with the offender’s.

Pure Negligence States
Unlike no-fault state, in pure negligence states, you are allowed to sue the drunk driver freely. All you need is prove the fault just like any other civil suit. However, winning is still not easy, since attorneys and insurance companies will fight back and try to prove their point.

Wrongful Death because of Drunk Driving
This type of civil suit is generally filed by the family members of the victim, who died in the accident. It is filed to make sure that the surviving members of the victim’s family may have some sort of financial stability. The victim’s family can consider both economic and non-economic damages as well as punitive damages in some cases. Punitive damages are a random amount given to the victim’s family with an intention to punish the drunk driver.

Besides, filling a lawsuit, it is always recommended to talk to the driver’s insurance company, first. Convey your intention of being fully compensated for the losses resulting from the accident. You will be amazed to see that most of the insurance companies will be willing to make a settlement outside the court and offer you sufficient settlement amount.

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