When most people think about drunk driving accidents, they think of a person being arrested and charged with DUI. While an arrest is a big part of holding negligent drivers accountable, there is a difference between a criminal DUI case and a civil drunk driving lawsuit. It is important to understand the difference between these two, particularly for those who have been harmed due to the actions of an impaired driver.
These are two separate things
If a drunk driver causes an accident, police are very likely to make an arrest at the scene. An officer may conduct field sobriety tests and work to determine the alleged impaired driver’s blood alcohol content. A criminal process for a drunk driving case is designed to punish the driver for acting in a reckless manner as well as protect the public from future harm by acting as a deterrent to others who may get behind the wheel while impaired. Drunk drivers can face criminal charges even if there is no accident or if they cause no injury to another person.
A civil case involving a drunk driving initiates when an injured party files a lawsuit against the impaired driver. Essentially, these lawsuits will be either personal injury lawsuits filed by the person injured or wrongful death lawsuits filed by the family members of a person killed by a drunk driver. Civil lawsuits against drunk drivers are filed to recover compensation for damages sustained due to the drunk driving incident. These lawsuits may be the only way for a victim to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, or other economic losses.
It is important to note net there do not have to be any criminal charges filed against an alleged drunk driver for them to face a civil personal injury lawsuit. If a person is charged with DUI and found not guilty, they can still face a civil personal injury lawsuit for their actions.
Do I have a case?
Drunk driving accidents are not uncommon in the Commonwealth. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 9,811 total alcohol-related crashes during the latest reporting year. Out of those incidents, there were 331 fatalities and 6,227 injuries. During that year, alcohol impairment was responsible for 27.8% of all traffic fatalities across Pennsylvania.
Those who survive a drunk driving crash often sustain serious injuries. It is not uncommon for the following to occur due to a drunk driving crash:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Bone fractures and dislocations
- Loss of or damage to a bodily organ
- Dismemberment or amputation
- Other injuries that inhibit a person’s daily activities
If you have been injured due to the actions of a drunk driver, or suspect hit the at-fault driver in your crash was impaired, you may have a case to recover significant compensation.
Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices
There are various types of compensation available to victims of a drunk driving accident. This includes both economic and non-economic damages such as the following:
- Compensation for all medical bills related to the crash
- Lost wages if a victim is unable to work while they recover
- General household expenses
- Possible physical therapy expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Possible punitive damages against the drunk driver
For these cases, it may be necessary to secure assistance from a skilled driving accident attorney to properly investigate the incident. An attorney will be able to gather all evidence necessary for an injured victim to obtain the compensation they are entitled to. At the Ciccarelli Law Offices, we are ready to help. You can call us for a free consultation of your case at 610-692-8700.