An injury case and the DUI case are separate. Most drunk driving accidents occur in areas that are not particularly crowded, where there is more access to videos from the arresting officer investigating the accident. By collecting all of the paperwork and video from the DUI case, the injured person can substantially increase their recovery in the civil case. Having the police officer available as a witness in the civil case would be a fantastic source of the information. By talking to the police officer, a Toledo drunk driving injury lawyer and the individual may become aware of evidence that was not even in the reports. An experienced car accident attorney can request the personal notes of the individual police officers in order to help in the civil litigation process.
The plaintiff could recover the compensatory damages which are damages that allow the injured party, the plaintiff, to be made whole. These are the typical medical bills, lost wages, permanent injuries, which can be collected. Punitive damages are damages that typically are not covered by insurance, but are damages that the individual drunk driver would be responsible for out of their own pocket.
A creative Toledo drunk driving injury lawyer can use several different techniques to place the insurance company on the hook for the drunk driving and increase the compensatory damages. That is something often discussed between plaintiff and counsel, about certain tactics to use. Those are typically cases that insurance companies will pay more money for because they are afraid of a jury being repulsed by the drunk driver and want to punish the drunk driver for their outrageous conduct.
In the legal process, if the drunk driver fights the ticket, the injured party will be subpoenaed as a witness for the prosecution at a pretrial or for the trial against the drunk driver. The Toledo drunk driver accident lawyer will coach the individual on what to say in response to the prosecutor questions. The attorney will go with the individual to the court hearing to make sure that the prosecutor understands how substantial the potential client’s injuries are and to make sure he is well represented, both in the civil lawsuit and at the criminal trial, if their goal is punishment or not with the prosecutor.
Typically the injured party has no say in pressing charges against the drunk driver because it is often up to Toledo to pursue its own criminal charges. It is really up to the prosecutor and the police to bring the charges, traffic charges and/or criminal charges, depending on the situation. Even if the injured party does not want to press charges, their opinion will be listened to, but the ultimate say is the police officers and the prosecutor.
A judge or jury will decide the percentage of responsibility for either side of the accident. A person can collect under Ohio law as long as the other party is at least 50 percent at fault for the accident. If the other party was 51 percent at fault for the accident, the individual will then collect 51 percent of the damages. If the case was worth $100,000 and the other side was 51 percent at fault, an individual could collect $51,000.
In an accident involving a drunk driver case, an injured person can sue for punitive damages with help from a Toledo drunk driving injury lawyer. Punitive damages are meant to punish the individual driver for their reckless, outrageous conduct under Ohio law. That would increase the value of the case substantially and put a lot of pressure on the other insurance company. Another unique piece of information about a drunk driver situation is that normally there is going to be a police officer that would have interviewed the drunk driver, performed either breath or urine test on the drunk driver, and probably took statements from the drunk driver.
If the injured person is the drunk driver, they can have a successful settlement with the help of a Toledo drunk driving injury lawyer. A typical situation might be that the drunk driver is driving down the road and somebody runs a red light or somebody runs a stop sign, so the proximate cause of the accident is not the drunk driver being drunk, but some other individual violating the safety rule. Normally that is a case that he does not want to take to trial because most jurors are not going to be very sympathetic to the drunk driver.
It is a much more difficult case to represent the drunk driver. It is not necessarily unwinnable, but it is probably not going to be winnable to collect a large amount of damages just from the lack of sympathy in that sort of situation. It is a case that is always rejected, depending on the fact pattern, and the drunk driver potentially can collect, it is just a much more difficult case.
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC