When a drunk driver is involved in an accident, the processes that follow are generally the same as with any other accident, just with the added element that the driver was drunk and will also face criminal penalties for their actions.
Only a judge or jury can determine who was at fault in a car accident, so victims must still work with an attorney to bring a civil suit against the driver to hold them liable. The four elements of any personal injury case apply to drunk driving cases as well:
- Duty: All drivers owe other drivers on the road a duty to drive safely and obey all traffic laws.
- Breach of duty: The plaintiff must be able to prove the driver breached their duty of care to others who share the road with them.
- Causation: The plaintiff must prove the breach of duty caused the accident in question.
- Injury: The plaintiff must prove they sustained injuries in the accident.
Just because a driver is intoxicated does not necessarily mean they caused the accident. If a driver runs a red light or stop sign and hits a drunk driver, they might be at fault despite the other driver’s intoxication.
However, in the majority of cases, intoxication on the part of a drunk driver will significantly increase the chances of the injured person recovering compensation in the case. Plus, a drunk driver who injures another person with their vehicle could also potentially face punitive damages for their actions, in addition to the standard compensatory damages in injury cases.
For more information about filing an injury claim against a drunk driver, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.