You may be familiar with the significant and hefty criminal consequences associated with drunk driving, including substantial fines, a criminal record and even jail time. However, in addition to these consequences, drunk drivers are often involved in accidents that can leave others seriously hurt, or even result in death. As such, there are various legal issues that surround drunk driving outside of just the potential criminal penalties.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a drunk driver and there is proof that the other driver was under the influence of alcohol, you may be able to seek damages through a civil lawsuit. There are various ways that you can obtain proof to support your civil case against a drunk driver. For instance, when there is an accident, the police may respond to the scene to investigate. As part of this investigation, the police may ask the driver questions, make observations of the scene and look for signs of impairment. The officer may even conduct field sobriety tests if it is believed that drunk driving played a role in the accident.
In addition to this investigation, where there is a suspicion that an accident involved drunk driving, the police may have a driver submit to a blood alcohol test. Many states have laws that require BAC testing of drivers when an accident involves the death of another motorist or pedestrian. Other states leave this testing up to the discretion of officers.
All of this evidence can help in a civil lawsuit against the responsible driver. To establish your case, you will have to show that the intoxication level of the driver was such that the driver could not safely operate a vehicle. If you or a family member has been involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your options and the legal remedies available.
Source: FindLaw, “Drunk Driving Accidents,” accessed May 14, 2018