According to MADD, there are approximately 27 people who lose their lives to drunk driving accidents each day. Many more individuals are injured each day as a result of the decision to drive while under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving accidents range in severity from minor accidents to those causing major health consequences, resulting in extended hospital stays. While many cases involving drug driving result in satisfied victims due to criminal charges being filed with the ultimate consequence of a conviction, license suspension, and in some cases jail time, criminal charges are not the sole remedy for victims. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving a drunk driver, contact Colombo Law today to determine your rights to relief.
Criminal vs Civil Cases
While criminal and civil laws relating to drunk driving both serve important purposes, they are aimed at different forms of relief. The purpose of filing criminal DUI charges is to punish the wrongdoer for his or her actions and deter future similar conduct. Laws prohibiting drunk driving also seek to protect the public against the dangerous tendencies of individuals who underestimate their intoxication level or intentionally drive under the influence of alcohol. The purpose of civil proceedings is to compensate the victim for injuries sustained during the accident. The monetary compensation received serves as reimbursement for expenses such as out of pocket medical expenses, lost wages, and lost property. You will also be able to recover for noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering or permanent disfigurement.
Although the purposes of criminal and civil proceedings differ, criminal proceedings may benefit a party who seeks to bring a civil suit for damages. This is because criminal proceedings establish wrongdoing on the part of the defendant. A criminal conviction is beneficial in establishing negligence in your personal injury matter. However, you may still pursue civil proceeding against the wrongdoer even if criminal charges are not filed. There are different standards in criminal and civil proceedings which sometimes prevents criminal charges from being filed. The standard of evidence in civil cases is proving that it is more likely than not the defendant was negligent by drinking and driving. This civil preponderance of the evidence standard is much lower than the criminal standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Have You Been Injured by a Drunk Driver? Contact Colombo Law Today
Drunk driving accidents are serious and unfortunate encounters that impact the entire family. These devastating accidents take far too many lives each year and injure many others. Our attorneys want to help you and your loved ones rebuild your lives again after tragedy strikes. When a tragic accident happens, you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer at Colombo Law to ensure you obtain the relief you deserve.
Our attorneys are personal injury litigators in West Virginia. We handle cases in and around West Virginia including in Morgantown, Fairmont, Clarksburg, Bridgeport, Kingwood, Grafton, Weston, Philippi, Buckhannon, Elkins, Parkersburg, as well as Monongalia, Marian, Harrison, Preston, Taylor, and Lewis county.