Suspects that cause car accidents while under the influence of alcohol or drugs face additional criminal charges.
A Number of Punishments
If these charges turn into a conviction, you can be slapped with other punishments that include:
- Time in prison
- Fines in the thousands of dollars
- Mandatory attendance of alcohol and drug counselling classes
- Mandatory installation of ignition interlock devices on all of your vehicles
- Suspension of their drivers permit, installation of ankle bracelets
- Community service, etc.
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Moreover, the severity of these punishments is directly proportional to that of the crime itself. For instance, suspects with a prior history of drunken driving are given harsher sentences. Likewise, suspects that caused injury or death as a result of driving drunk are also subjected to much more severe punishment than when compared to someone who has been charged with a DUI for the very first time and was not involved in an accident which affected someone else.
Civil Lawsuits against DUI Offenders
According to drunk driving accident attorneys, apart from these criminal penalizations, drunken drivers can also be slapped with a civil lawsuit by the victim or the estate of the victim accordingly. Such lawsuits are basically allowed so that the victim and/or the victim’s family may receive compensation for their losses. In essence, they can sue the drunk driver for his negligence and inconsideration.
These lawsuits are usually filed in the form of a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death lawsuit depending on the specifics of the accident. The victim or plaintiff in the case is entitled to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include damages such as medical bills, lost earnings, loss of ability to work, damage to property, etc. whereas non-economic damages are damages like mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering, to name a few.
No Proof Needed
However, some states in the country follow the no-fault rule when it comes to auto accidents. This rule basically dictates that when two or more parties are involved in an accident that has caused damage, each party will need to turn to their own auto insurers for compensation and do not have to prove that the other party was at fault in a court of law.
In such states, there is an exception to the rule, which allows victims to still go ahead and sue the alleged negligent party only if the accident has resulted in severe injury or death or the damages therein incurred are higher than certain set thresholds. In such cases, the victim may go ahead and file a lawsuit claiming these damages.
Mistakes can be Costly
However, filing claims is not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of intricate legal technicalities that need to be followed and forms that need to be filed out precisely correctly. Otherwise, you run the risk of your lawsuit getting dismissed. The best way to avoid this is to hire a drunk driving accident lawyer. A golden legal pro will not only ensure your case goes to trial but will also ensure that you win it.
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