Among the most heartbreaking and, sadly, common causes of car accidents is drunk driving. Despite the fact that driving while under the influence of alcohol is known by everyone to be against the law, people still make the irresponsible choice to get behind the wheel. While people who are caught driving drunk will face criminal charges, this only serves to punish the defendant. For people injured in car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers to receive monetary damages, he or she must file separate civil lawsuits.
If you suffered injuries after being involved in a drunk driving car accident in Blair County, an experienced lawyer might be able to help. The dedicated team of auto collision attorneys at our firm are prepared to represent those who were injured due to DUI. They could fight for your best interests and seek the maximum compensation available due to another driver’s reckless and criminal behavior.
Most collisions between vehicles are classified as accidents. Even in cases where a person is committing a crime, such as drunk driving, it is not his or her intent to cause a collision. Because of this, people injured in these situations cannot claim that the defendant intentionally caused his or her damages. Instead, Pennsylvania law allows injured people to sue under the legal theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a person makes a mistake, the result of which causes injuries to another person. When a driver is negligent, he or she is legally liable for the harm that is caused.
One way that drunk driving accident cases in Blair County are somewhat easier to prove is that prosecutors will bring criminal charges to court. A criminal prosecution and subsequent conviction are acceptable as evidence in a civil lawsuit, showing that a defendant was drunk at the time of the wreck. While a criminal case can result in severe penalties for the defendant, it does not typically award any monetary damages to an injured party. Even if the defendant receives an acquittal in court, an injured person must still file a civil claim to seek a recovery.
A criminal charge is also beneficial to any plaintiff’s claim due to the concept known as negligence per se. Blair County courts have accepted the fact that people who are convicted of a crime may be civilly liable to the victim. Accordingly, the legal doctrine of negligence per se means that a defendant could held to be automatically civilly liable if his or her violation of a law caused injuries that it is intended to prevent. Since drunk driving laws are certainly intended to prevent injuries on the road to all other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, if a plaintiff can introduce evidence that the defendant was drunk at the time of the collision, his or her case is supported with strong evidence.
People should also be aware that there is a limited time to file a suit in court. Known as the statute of limitations, 42 P.S. § 5524 gives plaintiffs only two years from the date of an accident to initiate a case in court. If this deadline passes, the injured person will be unlikely to collect the full compensation that he or she deserves. Considering this time constraint, contacting an attorney to discuss your legal rights after a drunk driving motor vehicle crash in Blair County could significantly improve your chances of success.
Drunk driving is among the most irresponsible things that a person can do behind the wheel. When such reckless behavior causes injuries, the driver and his or her insurance company may be responsible for all damages, including:
When pursuing any personal injury case, it is vital to hold all possible defendants liable for his or her actions. If the drunk driver was on the job at the time of the collision, it is possible that his or her employer may share the blame. Pennsylvania’s courts apply a concept called vicarious liability to hold employers accountable for the actions of workers that result in harm to others, as long as the worker was acting with the course and scope of the employment. Additionally, a facility – such as a bar or restaurant – that over-served the defendant while he was visibly intoxicated can also be legally liable to the victim. A Blair County drunk driving auto wreck attorney could help determine all liable parties in a particular case and seek out fair monetary damages from each of them.
Being involved in drunk driving car accidents in Blair County can be a confusing situation. People see the at-fault driver being arrested and assume that the police will handle all subsequent legal action. While this is true for any criminal charges, the drunk driver and potentially his or her employer are also civilly liable for any people that have been injured. Those injured parties must take the initiative if he or she wishes to hold the negligent driver and/or employer accountable for his or her losses.
A skilled legal professional could gather necessary evidence—including the results of any criminal charges—to build a strong claim for compensation for an injured party. However, there is a limited time to file suit, so do not delay. Contact the team of seasoned attorneys at Marcus & Mack today to get started.
Marcus & Mack