Auto accidents involving drunk drivers are some of the most tragic and heart wrenching accidents that families can face. In most cases, they are the entirely preventable result of someone else’s selfish and irresponsible choice. Survivors and the loved ones of those who are killed in DUI accidents face a very emotional legal battle, with anger compounding their grief.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident involving a drunk driver, or if you have lost a loved one in a fatal DUI crash, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for your losses. To find an expert local drunk driving accident attorney who will fight hard for you, please search the well-qualified drunk driving accident lawyers in AccidentAttorneys.org.
Do You Need an Auto Accident Attorney?
While there may be a criminal case against the drunk driver who caused your injuries, and there may even be some victim compensation involved, it will not produce the compensation that you need and deserve. Your auto accident claim is a civil case that is separate from the criminal case. A criminal conviction can help your case, but it is not necessary for you to win.
An experienced auto accident attorney will investigate and gather evidence to prove that alcohol was involved, even if there is no criminal case.
It is not unusual for a drunk driver, especially someone with prior DUI convictions, to be without insurance. That complicates your case and it means that you need an experienced and skilled attorney who will pursue other avenues of compensation for you.
Dram Shop and Social Host Liability
Whether the drunk driver had insurance or not, you may be able to collect compensation from a third party. Dram shop and social host liability laws are different in each state.
In general, dram shop laws hold bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and other alcohol sellers, responsible for the actions of the individuals they sell or serve alcohol to. Typically, they are only liable if they serve the alcohol to a minor who is under 21 years old or to someone who is visibly intoxicated. In some states that liability extends to serving known alcoholics.
Similarly, social host liability applies to individuals who serve alcohol in their homes. Social host laws are not as common as dram shop laws.
In some cases, in some states, dram shop and social host liability apply when the drunk driver, or the loved one of a drunk driver who died from their injuries, is the one seeking compensation.
Parent and Employer Liability
Parents can be held responsible for allowing a drunk minor to drive. Employers can sometimes be held responsible for allowing their employee to drive drunk on-the-job or for the actions of an employee who was provided alcohol at a company function.
Punitive Damages When You Have Been Injured by a Drunk Driver
Punitive damages are rarely available in auto accidents, but are commonly available if the at-fault driver was intoxicated. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer, rather than to compensate the victim, and drunk driving is viewed as more than mere negligence.
To find an experienced and highly credentialed drunk driving auto accident attorney in your area, please search our prequalified attorneys.