DWI Personal Injury Lawyer FAQ: What should I know about DWI accidents?
When an intoxicated driver causes an accident, and ultimately injures, another person, they could be criminally charged. In addition to criminal charges, it is usually possible for the victim to file a separate civil suit. This may be one of the most effective ways to recover damages for your losses. In general, you should not pursue a civil liability claim without a DWI personal injury lawyer on your side.
The Difference Between Civil Suits and Criminal Charges
Criminal charges, or proceedings, are intended to safeguard the public from future harm. They are also meant to punish the intoxicated driver. These charges are overseen by the state and will be be prosecuted.
A civil suit can be filed by the victim or their family member, in the case of a fatality. A civil suit is typically your only recourse to recover any associated damages, such as financial losses, that resulted from the accident. The criminal court might also order restitution to be paid, but this may not be much.
A civil suit might cover costs such as:
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Funeral and burial costs
States with No-Fault Laws
No-fault laws can have a big impact on your ability to file a civil suit against a driver who was intoxicated. If the accident occurred in a no-fault state, you may be limited in your ability to file a claim. Typically only injuries of a certain severity or damages over a certain amount of money will be applicable. You should speak with a DWI personal injury lawyer for further advice.
If you live in a fault state, you can likely file a suit. It will be up to you to prove fault, and depending on the circumstances, this could be difficult. Contrary to what many people think, suits against an intoxicated driver are not always easy to pursue. Defense lawyers and insurance companies are very good at defending these types of cases and will often fight tooth and nail to pay out as little as possible. It is prudent you have an experienced DWI lawyer on your side.
When a Loved One Is Killed By an Intoxicated Driver
If you lost someone to an intoxicated driver, you or another representative, may file a personal injury claim or wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased. These cases are meant to help the surviving family members ensure they receive compensation from the loss they have endured. Some states may allow punitive damages in addition to economic and non economic damages.
All personal injury claims have a statute of limitations. This means you must file your case within a certain period of time; the sooner, the better. Although you can technically pursue a claim without a lawyer, it is not advisable to do so. Personal injury lawyers work on contingency which means you will not pay anything unless you receive a settlement. For a consultation with a drunk driving attorney in Bloomington, IL, call a law firm today.
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into personal injury claims and DWI accidents.