If you have been charged with driving while drunk or DUI, you could lose more than just your driver’s license. If you are charged with drunk driving in Las Vegas, you need to know all of the possible penalties and effects of a conviction so you can decide what to do next.
In such situations, things get really hard. When people are stressed out, they can’t think straight and often make bad decisions. Don’t make that mistake. If you hire an experienced Brampton DUI lawyer to help you, you can feel safe knowing that an expert is looking out for your best interests.
Criminal charges can lead to a lot of problems, like big fines, harsh punishments, and big changes in your social, personal, and professional life. To avoid all of these bad things, a person needs the help of DUI lawyers who know the law well and can help lower the penalties or get the charges dropped. However, a lot of clients or people who might hire a criminal defense lawyer don’t really know what they do or how they should act. Criminal defense is a hard area of law, and protecting the rights and interests of defendants requires a lot of skills and knowledge.
What to Immediately Do If you Are Hit by a Drunk Driver
Getting hit by a drunk driver can change your life in an instant. One minute you’re on your way to work, and the next you’ve been hurt and have to deal with police officers, doctors, insurance adjusters, and lawyers.
If a drunk driver causes an accident, you will likely feel confused and angry. After a car accident, try to stay as calm as possible and follow these steps to protect yourself and get ready for a possible claim or lawsuit.
- Call 911
Taking care of your body and mind is the most important thing you can do. If you or anyone else hurt in the accident needs help right away, call 911. You’ll get the medical care you need, and you’ll have proof of your injuries and how much your care cost.
- Call the police
Call the police as well. An officer will talk to everyone involved and write up a report about what happened. If you think a drunk driver hit you, you need to call the police as soon as possible. A police officer can ask the driver to do field sobriety tests and take a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test.
In both civil and criminal court, you and the government can use the officer’s observations at the scene and the driver’s BAC test results as important pieces of evidence against the driver.
- Exchange insurance and contact information
Ask the police to help you and the other driver swap insurance and contact information. You will need to know the driver’s full name, license number, license plate number, and information about their car insurance.
- Take notes on what you see
People who saw an accident happen should give their names and phone numbers. You should also take pictures of the accident scene, including all of the cars involved, street signs, traffic signals, and the traffic light color.
But don’t stop the police from doing their job. A DUI accident could be the scene of a very bad crime. Most DUIs that cause injuries or death are charged as felonies, and the punishment is usually months or years in prison. You can use what an investigating officer finds in your own insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Talk to a lawyer
Accidents caused by driving under the influence are often serious, complicated, and have both criminal and civil consequences. You might think that if a drunk driver hurts you, your civil case will be easy to win and you don’t need a lawyer. But a DUI lawyer can help you figure out how much money you should get and then help you get it.
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Is a drunk driver always to blame for an accident?
You might think that a drunk driver is always to blame when they cause an accident, but that’s not always the case. If someone wants to sue after an accident caused by a drunk driver, they usually have to show that:
- The drunk driver (the “defendant”) had a duty to take care of the plaintiff (the “plaintiff”).
- The drunk driver broke (violated) that duty, which hurt the plaintiff. We call this “damage.”
Every driver has a duty to drive safely, and driving while drunk is one way to break that duty. But what if the driver wasn’t drunk and the accident happened anyway? What if, at a red light, you hit the back of a drunk driver? Or, what if you run a red light and crash head-on into a drunk driver? When these things happen, the drunk driver might not be to blame for the accident. The drunk driver would still go to jail for DUI, but they might not have to pay for your injuries and other losses.
If the accident was caused by both you and the drunk driver, your state’s comparative fault rules will apply. In some states, if you were even a little bit to blame for the accident, you might not be able to get anything at all.
How accidents are settled when someone is drunk driving
Before you rush to court to file a lawsuit, you should try to settle with the drunk driver’s insurance company. Each state has its own rules about how much insurance a driver needs. You might be able to get a good settlement for your injuries if you file a third-party claim against the car insurance company of a drunk driver.
You will have the upper hand when you talk to the drunk driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies know that a jury is likely to side with you instead of the drunk driver, so they will be very motivated to make a deal with you before the case goes to court.
Most of the time, people who are hurt in DUI accidents can get money for:
- Lost income after the accident and income that will be lost in the future
- The cost to fix or replace damaged property
- The cost of a rental car
- Pain and suffering (mental and physical)
The goal of compensatory damages is to make the person who was hurt whole again by paying for everything they lost because of the accident. In almost all states, some DUI victims may also be able to get punitive damages. These laws are meant to punish drunk drivers, especially for bad behavior. However, most car accident settlements don’t include punitive damages, so you have to go to court to get them.
Car accidents that hurt or kill people are complicated disasters that require the help of a commercial vehicle accident lawyer for personal injury cases or insurance claims. These situations are hard to navigate alone because you need a lot of proof, witness statements, and other things.
It can be very stressful and it might take a lot of paperwork to prove that your injuries came from a car accident, but doing so will help you get what you deserve for your injuries. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for the damage it caused.