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How can DUI effect the pursuit of damages after accident injury?

The phone rings. A person answers only to discover that a loved one has been involved in a serious car accident. Hopefully, the injured makes it out alive. Sometimes, when a person is on the wrong-end of a car accident with a suspected drunk driver, they aren’t so lucky. For those fortunate enough to escape with their life, there are often questions of how a DUI conviction will affect a personal injury suit.

Obviously the business of trying a personal injury case and trying a criminal charge, like DUI, happen in separate courts. However, this doesn’t mean that one decision can’t affect the other. For example, if a driver is convicted of DUI after a drunk driving accident causing injuries, it could be the undeniable proof the accident victim is hoping for. It can be the ‘smoking gun’ of personal injury accident claims after a drunk driving accident causes bodily injury.

However, the reverse isn’t necessarily true if DUI isn’t proven in criminal court. For example, the accused was not charged with DUI in criminal court. This doesn’t mean a favorable outcome for the injury victim isn’t possible in personal injury court. This is because negligence and personal injury suits have a lower threshold of proof in civil court compared to criminal court where DUI charges are tried.

Whatever the outcome of the accused in criminal court, this is not reason to shy away from a personal injury suit. These things can take time and consideration, so the sooner the process is begun, the quicker a resolution can be found. Injuries after an accident with a suspected drunken driver can be harrowing. Medical costs, loss of wages and loss of enjoyment of life are all real possible outcomes for the injured.

Source: dui.findlaw.com, “Drunk Driving Accidents,” Accessed May 23, 2016

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