What Will I Need to
Prove in a Claim Against a Drunk Driver?
When a driver causes an accident, that driver can be held responsible for damages that result. While the prosecution will need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case, in a civil suit, you must only prove the defendant’s fault by a preponderance of the evidence–or more likely than not.
You do not need to prove that the driver had a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 percent or above at the time of the crash in order to hold the driver liable for your damages; instead, you will only need to prove that the driver breached the duty of care owed to you and that this breach was the proximate cause of your harm. Breaching the duty of care owed to you may take the form of speeding, swerving, following too closely, driving in the wrong direction of traffic, and more–all things that could be performed by a drunk driver.
Party, Such as an Establishment that Served the Alcohol, Be Held Liable?
In some cases, you may be able to bring forth a claim against the drunk driver themself and the person or establishment that served the drunk driver alcohol. Per Vermont’s dram shop law, any person who is injured by an intoxicated person may bring forth a claim for civil damages against the party who providing the intoxicating substance to that person if the drunk person was a minor (under 21 years of age), the drunk person appeared to be intoxicated at the time they were being serviced, the alcohol was furnished to the drunk person after legal serving hours, or if, based on the amount that the drunk person had already been served, it was reasonable to assume that the person was intoxicated, yet they continued to be served.
Not only may this law apply to the owner of a bar or restaurant, but also to a host in a social setting, such as someone who invited their friends or neighbors over for a drink and was serving alcohol.
Damages Recoverable in a DUI Accident Claim
If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, you may be facing serious losses as a result of the crash. Our lawyer can help you to build your case and recover the full amount of damages available to you. Types of damages that are recoverable in a DUI accident case include:
- Property damage expenses to pay for the damage to your vehicle and any personal items damaged in the crash;
- Medical expenses to compensate you for the full value of your medical costs, including future medical costs that you expect to incur as a result of the crash;
- Lost wages that you have suffered as a result of your injuries preventing you from working, as well as a loss of earning capacity or benefits;
- Pain and suffering damages to compensate you for the intangible losses you have suffered, such as the value of your physical pain, emotional anguish, diminished quality of life, disability, and psychological harm.
Rutland DUI Accident Lawyer Can Help
Being hit by a drunk driver is infuriating and unfair. You may feel angry and want revenge, or deeply saddened, or anxious about the future–or a combination of all of the above. We know how you’re feeling and how emotional the claims process can be. Our lawyer can help you by handling all of the details of your case, including:
- Opening an investigation into your claim to determine how the crash occurred;
- Working with experts to reconstruct the evidence;
- Working with police to gain evidence of the driver’s intoxication, including gaining access to police reports, the driver’s breathalyzer or blood alcohol results, and more;
- Interviewing eyewitnesses;
- Determining whether another party–such as a party that furnished alcohol to the drunk driver–should be held partially liable;
- Calculating the value of your damages;
- Filing your claim against the appropriate party;
- Reviewing and negotiating a settlement offer; and
- Bringing your case to court and litigating on your behalf if necessary.
Note that criminal cases and civil cases are entirely separate and distinct, and the outcome of the criminal case will have no impact on the civil case. Even if a drunk driver is convicted in criminal court, you will not be paid damages as the result of a criminal conviction. To recover financial compensation for the harm you’ve suffered, you must bring forth a civil action.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
Our Rutland, VT DUI accident attorney understands your pain and fear after being involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver. If your injuries are serious, or if you are representing a family member who has been seriously injured or killed as the result of a drunk driver’s actions, our law firm can help. We want to help you get justice for the losses you’ve suffered and hold the drunk driver responsible for what they’ve done. We have the experience that your case deserves, and are ready to start working for you today. To learn more about our Rutland DUI accident lawyer, please call our law firm today. We offer free consultations.