Those convicted of drunk driving in an injurious car accident will face numerous criminal penalties. They will also face the likelihood of personal injury and/or wrongful death lawsuits in civil court.
Criminal proceedings related to a drunk driving charge and civil personal injury proceedings are handled separately in two very different kinds of legal proceedings. However, the record of a DUI conviction relating to the accident at issue can be used as powerful evidence to find a driver liable for the death and injuries he or she caused as a result of this highly irresponsible and deadly behavior.
Generally, to establish liability for injuries in a DUI crash one must establish that the driver’s illegal level of inebriation was the cause of the injuries suffered. This could be achieved through a combination of police reports, eyewitness testimony, crash scene evidence and/or expert witness testimony.
An injured party must also prove the extent of injuries and related monetary damages. This is usually done through medical records from doctors, psychologists and medical expert witness testimony when necessary. In addition, pain and suffering, loss of spousal relationships, lost quality of life, lost future earning capacity and money for temporary and permanent disabilities may be pursuable in DUI-related personal injury claim.
Every Virginia DUI accident is different and comes with varying strengths and weaknesses with regard to the pursuit of civil liability damages. Therefore, it is vital that each case be handled on its own individual basis and that a uniquely tailored litigation strategy is devised to suit the situation and needs of the party that was injured.
Source: FindLaw, “Drunk driving accidents,” accessed July 03, 2015