Car accident injuries that are caused by drunk driving become the subject of civil suits. Drunk drivers can face criminal charges with penalties that include jail time, restitution, and civil liability if the victims sue them. If you live in the city of Philadelphia, speaking to one of our experienced car accident lawyers can be beneficial if you’ve been injured or a loved one has been killed by a drunk driver. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover damages that help pay for funeral expenses, unpaid medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
Drunk Car Accident Injury Lawsuit vs. Criminal Proceedings
Civil suits for drunk driving cases are separate from criminal proceedings. Criminal proceedings act as a punishment for drunk driving and help protect the public from future harm. Drunk drivers can face criminal charges even if they do not cause an accident or injury.
Civil cases that are based on drunken driving accidents will come in the form of an injury lawsuit, which is filed by the victim. In some unfortunate cases, if the victim is killed, the next of kin will file the lawsuit to recover damages. The only recourse that some victims of drunk driving accidents have is a civil suit. With the lawsuit, these victims will attempt to recover damages that help pay for expenses. Depending on where you live, you may have the opportunity to recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Your ability to file a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver will be affected by no-fault laws. Living in a no-fault state likely means there is a financial threshold in place for car accidents unless there are serious injuries or the damages exceed a certain dollar amount. No-fault laws on civil suits involving drunken driving are debated frequently. In pure negligence states, drunk drivers are automatically subject to civil liability. In no-fault states, they are not. For instance, say you are clearly injured in a car accident due to a drunk driver. If you live in a no-fault state, laws still require a threshold to be met before a suit can proceed. If damages only include property damage and/or minor injuries, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company.
Pure Negligence States
Those who live in pure negligence states are generally free to sue a drunk driver for the injuries they sustain. Personal injury drunk driving suits require that fault is proven like any civil suit. It may seem that having an accident case against a drunk driver would be easily won, but defense lawyers and insurance companies spend a lot of money defending these cases which makes them more difficult than they should be.
The loved ones of someone killed by a driver under the influence can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased. Wrongful death suits help ensure that the survivors have financial stability after the accident. These suits are a variant of standard personal injury negligence lawsuits. They will often follow the same procedure. Both non-economic and economic damages are available, as well.
When You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Philadelphia
The Heslin Law Firm has helped victims of car accidents and motor vehicle collisions for over 30 years. Our experienced lawyers will manage all aspects of your case while you take the time to seek needed medical treatment. We will perform investigative services to determine who is liable for your injuries and file a lawsuit on your behalf.
We offer free consultations and operate on a contingency fee basis. This means, if you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. Stop by our office today to speak with accident attorney, Gary Heslin. You can also call our office with any questions.