What DUI Crash Victims Should Know

What DUI Crash Victims Should Know

People who choose to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs put themselves and everyone around them at risk of serious harm, and they should be held civilly liable for any harm they do end up causing through their misconduct. That said, understanding your rights in a situation like this can be harder than you might think, especially if you have never been in a car crash before. Here is a brief summary of what DUI crash victims should know about their legal options afterward, all of which a skilled car accident lawyer can explain in more detail as needed.

Limited Tort Laws Don’t Apply to DUI Crashes

While people in Pennsylvania with limited tort car insurance policies can still get money through their insurance coverage for medical bills and car repair costs stemming from a car crash, they typically can’t file a lawsuit and demand compensation for other types of losses unless they suffer a serious injury. There are a few other exceptional situations where crash victims can ignore these limited tort restrictions, and DUI crashes are one of them. When the person who caused your wreck was drunk, you can sue them even if you have limited tort insurance and didn’t suffer a serious injury.

Drunk Driving Counts as Legal Negligence

When you have standing to file a lawsuit over an injury you suffered in a car crash, you can only get a favorable result if you can prove the person you’re suing was legally negligent. This means proving they directly caused your injury by doing something reckless or careless that violated the duty of care they had to drive lawfully and responsibly.

Since DUI is against the law, it always counts as a breach of duty in this regard. In other words, you may be able to successfully sue a drunk driver over an auto accident even if you can’t prove they violated a specific traffic law or acted irresponsibly in any other way.

You Can Still Sue Even If There’s No Conviction or Arrest

Another thing you should know about DUI crashes is that you don’t actually have to have a DUI conviction—or even an arrest—to point to in order to prove that the person you’re suing was, in fact, driving while drunk. This is because personal injury claims have a less strict standard of proof compared to the beyond a reasonable doubt standard that criminal prosecutors have to meet. It’s sometimes possible to hold someone civilly liable for a drunk driving crash even if they weren’t found criminally liable for it.

You May Be Able to Get Punitive Damages

In Pennsylvania, civil courts hearing injury claims can impose additional punitive damages against someone who injured someone else by acting in an extremely negligent way and then award those punitive damages as extra money to the injured person. While it is not guaranteed in every case, and you’ll need to meet a higher standard of proof than you would to recover for specific compensatory damages, judges are sometimes more likely to make people who were extremely impaired behind the wheel pay punitive damages to people injured in ensuing wrecks.

A winning lawyer can answer any further questions you have about things you should know as a DUI crash victim during a free, no-obligation consultation. Call today to schedule yours.