When Drunk or High Drivers Cause Harm

If you have recently been injured by a driver who was impaired by alcohol or another substance, you are likely in a strong position to hold that driver accountable in civil court for the harm that you have suffered. All too often, injury victims pay close attention to any criminal charges that may be brought against those who have harmed them. However, many victims remain unaware that they are in a position to seek compensation from the driver who harmed them and/or that driver’s insurance company. Connecting with an attorney can help you to clarify your legal situation and help you to explore your options so that you can make informed decisions about your next steps.

Civil vs. Criminal Liability

As an experienced car accident lawyer – including those who practice at The Law Offices of Barry P. Goldberg – can explain in greater detail, the civil and criminal justice systems in the United States are distinct. This means that injury victims generally retain the right to hold someone liable for harm in civil court regardless of whether they have been convicted or even charged in a criminal capacity.

The standard of proof employed in civil court is far lower than the standard of proof employed by criminal courts. This means that it is generally much easier to hold someone liable for harm in civil court than it is for a prosecutor to secure a conviction.

Practically speaking, this distinction means that regardless of whether the impaired driver who caused your injuries has been prosecuted or not, and regardless of whether any prosecution they have faced has led to a conviction or not, you remain entitled to hold them accountable in civil court. The difference in standards of proof also means that you will likely have an easier time securing a favorable result in your case than a prosecutor would when trying to secure a conviction. 

Civil Remedies for Injury Victims

If you choose to file legal action, you may be able to secure compensation for your medical bills, future medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, lowered quality of life, pain and suffering, and other significant losses stemming from the injuries you have suffered.

It is also worth noting that if you sustained injuries while you were engaging in any kind of work for your employer, you may be in a strong position to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. If this is the case, you’ll want to reach out to an attorney immediately, as the workers’ compensation claims process is among the most time sensitive processes governed by civil law. If you don’t take certain steps within a matter of days, you may be barred from seeking rightful compensation.

If you’ve been harmed either through no fault of your own or as a result of the partial responsibility of an impaired driver, act quickly to preserve your legal options and protect your rights. You may be entitled to considerable compensation at this time.