What is the difference between an injury lawsuit where you are hit by a drunk driver and one involving a sober driver? Are there additional parties that can be liable? Does it make it easier to prove liability? There are a number of differences between an injury lawsuit that involves a drunk driver and an injury lawsuit that involves a sober driver. First, as in all lawsuits it is important to find out which party was responsible for causing the car accident.
In general, when you are involved in a car or truck accident in Alabama with a drunk driver your case has the potential to be worth more than it would be if the other driver was not intoxicated. This is mainly because punitive damages will most likely be higher in a case where there is a drunk driver because punitive damages are often used by the court to punish the driver that caused the accident.
This is especially the case where the court wants to punish the act of drunk driving in order to deter the driver convicted, as well as setting an example for other people in the community that drunk driving will not be tolerated. With this being considered, most insurance companies will settle cases involving drunk drivers before the case goes to trial. This is because the insurance companies know that it is fairly unlikely to get a favorable jury award when there is a drunk driver involved in a vehicle accident injury.
Another main difference between an injury lawsuit with a drunk driver and an accident with a sober driver is that the drunk driver is going to be charged with a DUI, whereas a sober driver typically will not be criminally charged for being at fault in a car accident unless they have broken the law in some way.
There are additional parties that may be held liable in an injury lawsuit involving a drunk driver. Alabama has a dram shop statute which prohibits the sale of alcohol to someone that appears to be intoxicated. Under Alabama’s dram shop act, bars, restaurants and other establishments may be held for providing alcoholic beverages to people who appear to be intoxicated if that person later injures someone in a drunk driving accident. Therefore, if someone goes into a restaurant or bar and is served by that establishment when they are already visibly intoxicated, that establishment may also be held liable. It is often much easier to prove liability in an injury lawsuit involving a drunk driver because driving under the influence is a crime by itself. While a DUI conviction alone is not enough to prove that the drunk driver is at fault, it makes it easier to prove liability because driving under the influence breaches the responsibility to be a safe and responsible driver.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!