Know Your Rights: Victims of DUI Accidents
The victims of DUI accidents can suffer serious injuries including broken bones, spinal injuries, burns, traumatic brain injuries, and even wrongful death. Tipp Coburn & Associates PC have been providing legal services for over 55 years and will explore all avenues for victims to recover the damages they are entitled to receive. DUI accidents can be catastrophic, and the injuries change lives of the victim and their family. Our DUI accident attorneys in Missoula, MT, have experience making demands for civil damages for the injuries suffered in these devastating accidents.
What is a DUI Accident?
Driving while intoxicated—defined as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of over 0.08 percent—is a serious matter. A drunk driver risks losing his or her driving privileges and other criminal charges, as well as facing civil liability to the victims in any accident. This distinction is important to keep in mind when demanding damages for injuries suffered, because the civil remedy is much different than the criminal charges against the driver. For example:
- Civil cases are initiated and maintained by the victim, while the criminal portion of a DUI case is handled by the State. A civil action is a legal remedy meant to provide financial relief to the victim for injuries suffered, and criminal DUI charges are meant to punish the driver and deter future conduct.
- The proof needed to establish liability in a civil matter is not the same as what the State must prove in order to obtain a criminal DUI conviction. The legal standard is lower in civil cases than it is in criminal cases, and this difference eases the burden placed upon victims when seeking damages.
- The consequences in civil vs. criminal matters are also different, in that with a civil judgment, the driver will be required to pay fines and costs but a criminal conviction can result in jail time and loss of certain liberties and privileges.
The purpose of a civil suit is to pursue the compensation required to pay medical bills, lost wages, and other damages sustained by the victim. If you have been hurt by a drunk driver, exploring this avenue of reimbursement is critical to making a full recovery.
DUI accidents cause life-changing injuries, often requiring extensive care. Victims of DUI accidents have civil remedies to recover damages for all injuries suffered.
Common Injuries Suffered in DUI Accidents
Any motor vehicle accident is likely to cause injuries, and the same is true with DUI accidents. Some of the most common injuries victims suffer when involved in a DUI accident are:
- Broken bones: The point of impact between two vehicles causes those inside the car to be thrown forward and back, causing them to experience whiplash. They could even strike another object so hard that bones are broken.
- Brain injuries: Forceful impacts can eject victims from the car, causing them to go headfirst through the windshield, causing injury to the brain. Hitting your head on the roof of the car can also cause a brain injury, and is common with many DUI accidents.
- Spinal trauma: the sudden back and forth motion associated with a car accident, or being lodged and contorted against the interior of the car can damage the spinal column.
In the most severe cases, injuries sustained in a DUI accident can be fatal. Families have the right to bring a claim for wrongful death in these circumstances, and hold the driver accountable. In any case, the damages available include repayment for medical costs, the expense associated with long term care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call us for Help
If you have been in a car accident with a drunk driver we can help. Our approach is to seek damages from every available source and to explore all avenues of recovery. To schedule an initial office consultation, contact us online or call us at (406) 549-5186.