Drunk Driving Accident Victims
Being in a traffic accident can be extremely scary and leave you feeling destitute and enraged, especially if the guilty party for your accident was under the influence. That motorist may face criminal charges, but that does not exactly assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries, lost income, and costly medical debt. An auto accident attorney in Kootenai County, Idaho can help you file a civil action for compensation.
The Difference between Criminal and Civil Actions in a Drunk Driving Accident
For operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, the inebriated driver may face criminal charges. Criminal charges can include penalties such as prison time and fines owed to the state. However, none of this, does anything to reimburse the victims of the inebriated driver. To receive reimbursement, you need to file civil litigation.
For your civil action, however, you can use evidence, such as the driver’s blood alcohol content, gathered in the course of a criminal investigation. For example, if at the scene of the incident when the police arrived, the motorist’s blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, that data would indicate that the driver was debilitated and failed to take acceptable care to shield the safety of others on the road.
Below is an overview of legal limit for intoxication in Idaho:
- Commercial driver: .04%
- Non-commercial drivers over the age of 21: .08%
- Drivers under the age of 21: .02%
Pursuing Civil Litigation Against a Drunk Driver
In order to recover any damages for injuries to you or your loved one, you will have to pursue civil litigation (insurance claim or lawsuit) against the motorist who was responsible for the incident. In DUI accident cases, you need to prove:
- The driver was intoxicated and his level of intoxication
- His intoxication made him a dangerous driver and was negligent
- His negligence was responsible for your accident
- You suffered damages
If you can prove these components, you might be able to recover not only medical expenses and lost wages, but punitive damages as well. Courts may award punitive damages in Idaho to punish someone for their wrongdoing. Such damages could be appropriate under these circumstances.
Below are some other damages an injured party may recover after a DUI-related accident.
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Physical/other types of therapy
- Intangibles such as pain and suffering
In order to determine what actions to pursue and to protect your rights, contact Ryan Sargent at 208-600-6000 if you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident with an intoxicated driver.