Why DUI Crash Victims Can Benefit from Hiring a Car Crash Attorney
Drunk driving often results in serious injury or death, which is why it is illegal and drivers who are found guilty of this offense face severe penalties in the criminal justice system.
However, drunk driving also creates civil liability. This is an important distinction because the criminal justice system punishes drunk drivers, but it does not provide compensation for the damages suffered by crash victims.
While compensation does not change what occurred, it is vital for victims and their families as they look to move forward after these devastating events.
Below, we discuss how a Bloomington car accident lawyer may be able to help drunk driving crash victims. While it is important to hire an attorney after this type of crash, the attorney you choose is extremely important. You need an experienced attorney who has a history of securing compensation for crash victims.
TSR Injury Law has been helping crash victims for more than 20 years and our firm has helped them obtain millions in compensation.
Why the Civil Justice System is Different from the Criminal Justice System
Minnesota’s criminal justice system is set up to prosecute those who have been accused of crimes, making sure they receive due process of law. If someone is found guilty of a criminal offense, he or she can be penalized in accordance with state law.
Minnesota law makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher. That said, drivers could potentially be arrested and charged with DWI with a lower blood-alcohol concentration.
Typically, the first offense comes with a loss of license for at least 30 days and possible jail time. The driver’s license could be suspended for up to one year.
While each case varies, a DWI charge could cost the driver up to $20,000, considering court costs and other legal fees and higher car insurance premiums.
If an impaired driver injures someone else or damages their property, the court that penalizes the impaired driver may order him or her to pay restitution. Restitution is compensation for economic losses, typically damage to the victim’s vehicle.
However, victims need to know restitution may not be paid out all at once. Unless the court orders restitution be paid all at once, the impaired driver will be put on a payment schedule, either by his or her probation officer or the court administrator. It is also common for the drunk driver to be in jail, not have a job and not be able to pay restitution even if ordered to by a Judge.
If the offender does not pay, a judge could extend the offender’s probation until the victim receives restitution. However, the offender could delay the process by asking for additional documentation to justify the order of restitution. Even if the drunk driver can stick to a payment schedule, he or she may not be able to pay very much.
Despite the consequences of drunk driving for victims, the criminal justice system does not allow them to pursue compensation for all their damages. That is left to the civil justice system. That is why you need a civil attorney if you or a loved one were a victim of a drunk driver.
Can a Civil Case and Criminal Case Be Pursued Together?
Yes, you can pursue a civil case against the drunk driver while the criminal case makes its way through the justice system.
However, it is important to note many car crash cases are resolved through negotiations with an insurance company. As Minnesota is a no-fault state, you may be seeking compensation from your own insurance policy for some benefits, like wage loss or medical bills, but you can also seek compensation against the drunk driver’s insurance for pain and suffering and unpaid bills and wages.
It is important to note the result of the criminal case may not affect a civil claim, such as an insurance claim. Criminal claims have a higher standard of proof. If the drunk driver is not convicted in criminal court, your lawyer may still have enough evidence to validate your claim.
Can the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company Deny Responsibility?
Many insurance policies have exclusions for intentional actions. You may be wondering if an at-fault driver’s insurance company could use these exclusions to try to deny responsibility. If your lawyer ends up pursuing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, he or she will counter any intentional act exclusions.
Liability for the Establishment That Served the Drunk Driver
While you may be thinking of filing an insurance claim yourself, you should know the legal process can be complicated, particularly when the victim was severely injured or died in the crash. Insurance companies are going to fight hard to undervalue or even deny these types of claims. The bottom line for insurance companies is profit, no matter how severely you were injured.
Fortunately, you do not need to go through this process alone. In fact, you can bring in an experienced professional to take on the legal process on your behalf.
The experienced lawyers at TSR Injury Law know how to validate a car crash claim, including a DUI crash claim. We are dedicated to the pursuit of maximum compensation on behalf of victims.
For example, we may be able to file a claim against the establishment that served the driver. Under Minnesota’s Dram Shop Act, an individual or establishment that illegally sold alcohol (serving to a minor or overserving someone who was intoxicated) could also be liable for injuries or death that may result. Time is crucial for seeking additional fault against a bar. Evidence is lost or forgotten. If you want to hold a bar accountable, it is crucial to hire a law firm immediately so the investigation can occur quickly.
Injured in a Crash? Call TSR Today for Assistance
Our attorneys know what crash victims go through, as we have helped so many after these unexpected events. When alcohol is involved, these crashes often have devastating results. Even though victims need compensation for medical bills and other expenses, insurance companies routinely undervalue claims, no matter how severe the crash.
You need an experienced advocate fighting for your best interests. You need an attorney prepared to go to court if necessary.
At TSR Injury Law, we are ready to manage the legal process on your behalf, pursuing the compensation you and your family need. There is no upfront cost with our services.
Give us a call today to learn more. (612) TSR-TIME