It is one thing when an honest mistake or carelessness by a driver leads to a motor vehicle collision, but it is another thing entirely when such an incident occurs due to the driver’s terrible decision to drive while intoxicated. You probably know that you have rights if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car collision. Your legal options are similar after a DUI accident, but there are key differences to be aware of regarding your claim. Your Colorado personal injury lawyer can handle the details and explain how the laws work.
The Intoxicated Driver
An intoxicated driver who causes an accident could face serious penalties for a DUI conviction, including jail time, fines, probation, driver’s license suspension, and more. The results of a criminal case do nothing to reimburse you for the losses incurred as a victim. Instead, you must seek your legal recourse through the civil process, which generally begins with filing a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company.
If the insurer refuses to settle for a fair and reasonable amount, your next step is to file a lawsuit in court. Whether you agree to a settlement or prevail in court, you may be able to recover compensation for losses such as:
- Your medical expenses
- Loss of income and future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scars and disfigurements
- Decreased quality of life; and
- Many more, depending on your circumstances
Auto accident claims stem from the theory of liability called “negligence,” which has a specific meaning in the practice of law. In a case based on negligence, you must prove four crucial points:
- The intoxicated driver was responsible for driving safely
- That person was in violation of the legal responsibility of exercising care
- The offense committed against you was as a result of the accident that subsequently caused your injury
- You experienced losses due to your injury
These four items do not change because the driver was drunk, but evidence of impairment offers strong support for number 2 above. In the criminal case, the prosecutor may not have been able to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For civil cases, the burden of proof is less: you must prove an impediment by a preponderance of the evidence, which works in your favor.
Consult an Attorney
If you want to receive monetary damages due to being a victim of a DUI accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. In so doing you will receive the expert help necessary to get you through the process successfully.