Have You Been Injured By A Drunk Driver? What You Should Know
Accidents involving drunk drivers differ from ordinary accidents in several significant ways due to the impaired state of the at-fault driver. Here are some of those key differences.
Higher Risk of Severe Injuries or Fatalities
Drunk driving significantly impairs a driver's reaction time, coordination, judgment, and overall ability to operate a vehicle safely. As a result, accidents involving drunk drivers are more likely to result in severe injuries or fatalities compared to ordinary accidents.
Criminal and Civil Consequences
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal offense in most jurisdictions. When a drunk driver causes an accident, they can face both criminal charges and civil liability for the damages they caused. This dual aspect distinguishes these cases from ordinary accidents where liability is typically the primary concern.
Liability and Negligence
In accidents involving drunk drivers, establishing liability is often more straightforward. When a driver is found operating a vehicle while intoxicated, it can be easier to prove negligence on their part, as they were engaging in illegal and reckless behavior.
Potential for Punitive Damages
In many cases, victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers may be eligible to seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for their willful misconduct or reckless behavior. This is meant to deter both the specific driver and others from driving under the influence in the future.
Victims of accidents involving drunk drivers may experience heightened emotional distress, anger, and a sense of injustice due to the preventable nature of the accident. The fact that the accident was caused by someone's choice to drive while impaired can make it even more difficult for victims to come to terms with what happened.
Higher Likelihood of Legal Action
Victims of accidents caused by drunk drivers are often more motivated to pursue legal action, given the apparent negligence involved. This can result in more lawsuits, negotiations, and settlements compared to ordinary accidents.
Insurance companies may handle cases involving drunk driving differently. In some cases, insurance policies may have exclusions or limitations related to accidents caused by DUI. Additionally, victims may need to pursue compensation from the drunk driver's personal assets if insurance coverage is insufficient.
Public Awareness and Stigma
Drunk driving accidents often receive more public attention due to the widespread awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence. There may also be a social stigma associated with being involved in a drunk driving accident.
Speak to a personal injury law firm, such as Blackwell Ruiz Injury Law, to find out more.