If you are the victim of the negligence of a drunk driver, it may be in your best interest to inquire about the monetary compensation a person can recover. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can gather the evidence that can help build your claim. If you believe you could benefit from such services, be sure to reach out to an Edmond drunk driving car accident lawyer today. [toc]
Examples of the Uniqueness of Drunk Driving Auto Wreck Cases
Some examples of how a car accident injury case caused by a drunk driver is different from other car accident injury cases. The most common difference is that the drunk driver isn’t paying attention to the road conditions. This may include how drunk drivers oftentimes do not slow down before the impact. A lot of drivers, if they are sober, see a car that stops in front of them and they start to slow down. A drunk driver might not even notice the vehicle in front of them. The impact could be worse and the damage to the person and the vehicle could be significantly worse. This could enhance damages considerably.
Depending on the extent of intoxication, whether they are slightly impaired or extremely drunk, a jury is in general going to consider this as a factor in awarding damages. Most people, and jurors, are going to be outraged by somebody who causes a serious injury to somebody else because they were behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. This is preventable, and should not happen.
A car accident involving a drunk driver is more likely to involve punitive damages than a typical car accident injury case. For more information, get in touch with an Edmond car accident lawyer.
Recoverable Damages Drunk Driving Accidents
The damages sought by the plaintiff in a drunk driving accident are the same that are available in any other personal injury case. This includes medical bills, lost wages, pain& suffering, and property damage. Punitive damages are often available, but it is up a jury to decide. Punitive damages are to punish that driver for driving drunk and causing serious injury, and are used as a deterrent to it happening again.
However, even if a judge or jury awards punitive damages, there is the “collectability” issue. A plaintiff could get a punitive damages award, but may not be able to collect it against a drunk driver who does not have much in the way of assets or insurance that covers punitive damages. It would have to come from the assets of the drunk driver to recover from punitive damages. In most cases, liability insurance does not cover for punitive damages.
Role of the Victim During a Drunk Driving Claim
The injured person’s main priority should be seeking medical attention. The involvement of the injured party in the legal process, after an accident caused by a drunk driver, is that they often will need to testify at some point. The other difference versus a normal car accident is that the victim may need to testify in the criminal trial.
Note that that this testimony can be used in the personal injury civil case. A criminal conviction means there is no question that the person was the drunk driver who caused the accident. If that happens, the insurance defense lawyers will “admit liability,” but will likely contest the full amount of the damages caused from the wreck.
Is There a Requirement to Press Charges?
The City of Edmond would pursue its own criminal charges against the drunk driver, because it is a public danger. The police and city attorneys want to control it, they want to limit it, and they want to punish somebody who engages in drunk driving. They would pursue criminal charges as a matter of public interest. The other driver is not going to charge them with drunk driving. The police, and city attorneys (or district attorneys if it is filed in Oklahoma County District Court), would handle the case from the criminal standpoint.
As far as damages and recovery for the injured party, it is done in a civil court versus the criminal justice system. The injured party would need to have an Edmond drunk driving car accident lawyer file a lawsuit and pursue any damages against the drunk driver. The state does have a victim compensation system where they try to compensate some injured people that they would not otherwise be able to collect. That is an area that is unique. Somebody could get recovery from the drunk driver or from some from the fund.
If you have questions, give us a call. Even if you do not plan on hiring an attorney, a lawyer can guide you through the legal process of filing a compensation claim if liability insurance is not available.