When a drunk driving accident happens, the subsequent injury case and DUI case are separate matters. 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 as supporting evidence for the DUI case, the injured person can substantially increase their recovery in a civil case. In addition, having the police officer available as a witness in the civil case would be a fantastic source of information.
By talking to the police officer who responded to the scene and issued the DUI, a Toledo drunk driving accident lawyer and the injured 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.
Typical Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident
The plaintiff can recover compensatory damages, which are damages that allow the injured party to be made whole. These damages include economic damages like medical bills and lost wages as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering. An attorney can analyze the details of a specific case and estimate the compensation that the injured person is entitled to.
In addition, when criminal activity like drunk driving is involved, punitive damages may also be included. Punitive damages are damages that typically are not covered by insurance, but that the individual drunk driver would be responsible for out of their own pocket.
A creative Toledo drunk driving injury attorney can use several different techniques to place the insurance company on the hook for the drunk driving accident and increase the compensatory damages. Typically, insurance companies want to reach a settlement agreement and keep drunk driving claims out of court, because they know a jury is likely to harshly punish a drunk driver for their outrageous conduct.
Involvement from the Injured Party
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. A Toledo drunk driver accident attorney can coach the individual on what to say in response to the prosecutor’s questions. The attorney will also 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.
Typically, the injured party has no say in pressing charges against the drunk driver because it is often up to the city of Toledo to pursue its own criminal charges. It is ultimately up to the prosecutor and the police to bring the charges, traffic charges, and potential 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 final say lies with the police officers and the prosecutor.
Partial Responsibility for Drunk Driving Accidents
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 would then collect 51 percent of the damages. For example, if the case was worth a $100,000 and the other side was 51 percent at fault, an individual could collect $51,000. A judge or jury will decide the percentage of responsibility for either side of the accident.
Difference from Other Car Accident Cases
In an accident involving a drunk driver case, an injured person can sue for punitive damages with help from a Toledo drunk driving injury attorney. Punitive damages are meant to punish the individual driver for their reckless, outrageous conduct under Ohio law. This 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 who would have interviewed the drunk driver, performed either a breath or urine test on the drunk driver, and possibly took statements from the drunk driver. All of this information will be valuable evidence for your injury claim.
Contact a Toledo Drunk Driving Accident Attorney Now for Help
If you or a loved one have been involved in a DUI wreck, help is here. Contact our firm and connect with an experienced Toledo drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible.