Yes, it is possible to sue a drunk driver in a civil lawsuit. If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver in Pennsylvania, you may be left with questions on what to do next. Drunk driving accidents can cause life-changing injuries and even death. Some common questions Pennsylvania DUI accident lawyers answer for clients include:
The recklessness of someone who is too drunk to drive safely can cause you to suffer serious injuries. These injuries can rack up large medical bills, lost wages, and cause lasting pain and suffering. Our experienced DUI accident attorneys in Pennsylvania only represent victims of a drunk driving accident. Call to speak with a personal injury attorney at Justice Guardians for a free consultation, available 24/7.
Drunk drivers are extremely dangerous to themselves on the road, but are dangerous to drive around. The Pennsylvania DUI Association estimates that over 25% of fatal crashes are alcohol-related. Fortunately, over the last few years, the number of alcohol-involved crashes has been trending downward.
If you've been injured or someone from your family was killed by a drunk driver or DUI accident, you may have legal options in a civil and/or criminal court; you may be able to seek compensation from the insurance company.
A car accident can often be confusing for victims, especially if there are serious injuries involved. If possible, you should always call the police to report the accident and for them to obtain information vital for a DUI conviction and in civil court. Often the police officers will gather much of the information, but if you are able you should also collect information about the other driver, insurance, and observations about the behavior of the driver, such as if they were visibly intoxicated, any admissions, and where they were coming from and going. If you were injured, you should also seek medical care immediately.
During your recovery, you should also keep track of as much information as possible. This includes doctor's appointments, medical bills, medical expenses, any property damage, or other economic damages. A record of your recovery may help with a lawsuit.
After calling the police and tracking recovery if you are the victim of a DUI accident, you should speak to an experienced attorney. Pennsylvania law allows victims to sue drunk drivers, and hold other parties liable in a DUI case. Our law firm has local offices across the state of Pennsylvania and our phones are available 24/7 where you can speak with an attorney for a free consultation.
A drunk driving accident is typically prosecuted in criminal court as well as privately in a civil lawsuit. Seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering are not common in criminal cases. If restitution is awarded in a criminal court, it may only pay for monetary expenses, it will not help cover the emotional or non-economical damages that are a result of being injured. A criminal case will typically result in jail time or other criminal punishment. A conviction for a DUI may not be able to prove negligence, but the driver's BAC
A civil case on the other hand does not result in criminal punishment of the drunk driver but rather focuses on the monetary compensation for loss of quality of life, pain, and suffering. In Pennsylvania, it is also possible to hold a third party liable for the intoxication and the consequential drunk driving car accident; this is called a DRAM Shop law.
Dram shop laws hold the establishment that sells and serves intoxicated customers who end up causing DUI accidents. In Pennsylvania, there are 3 conditions that must be met:
Unlike other states, Pennsylvania does not recognize social host responsibility when it comes to adult drinking. However, a social host may be held accountable if they provide alcohol to minors.
If the driver was sold alcohol while at a beer distributor, liquor store, or bar while already drunk, these establishments may be held accountable.
Drunk driving accidents can lead to hit-and-run accidents, property damage, fatal car accidents, and other types of accidents. Some common indicators of someone driving under the influence include:
Someone with a high blood alcohol level may also have high blood pressure or an elevated heart rate. The intoxicated driver may be anxious, violent, or confused due to the alcohol impairment. You can help avoid traffic accidents or alcohol-related accidents if you suspect a drunk driver by reporting the car to the police.
In Pennsylvania, there is a limit of .08% blood alcohol content for drunk driving convictions. For a commercial driver, this drops to a BAC of .04%. In Pennsylvania, there are three levels of DUI legislation depending on the BAC level of the person driving drunk. The penalties also vary depending on the BAC level and the number of prior offenses.
Often an insurance company will not want to cover for non-economic payments, which is why it is important to speak with an experienced accident lawyer, regardless of the type of accident you have. If you were involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, it is extremely important to contact an attorney about your personal injuries. An experienced attorney can secure compensation from insurance companies even if a driver does not have funds. Our law firm fights for a fair recovery and to ensure that the negligent driver is held liable.
Our team understands the importance of an attorney-client relationship, especially when it comes to other driver's negligence leading to a drunk driving accident with serious injuries or even a fatal accident. If you were injured in a drunk driving accident, contact our law firm today for your free consultation where you can speak directly with an attorney.