Baton Rouge, LA – Louisiana does allow victims and their families to file lawsuits against drunk drivers, even if the person was also charged criminally. The civil and criminal cases can proceed separately through different court systems, and they may possibly have different outcomes. The civil case is meant to compensate the victim for medical bills and other costs, while a criminal case brought by the state can punish the person through things like fines and jail time.
Steps following the accident
Anyone involved in a collision with a driver who appears to be intoxicated should contact the police immediately. This will cause them to start their investigation. The victim should also get in touch with their insurance company as soon as realistically possible afterward. In some cases, the insurance process may be sufficient to pay out costs for things like property repairs and medical treatment, although if the accident is severe it is much more likely that an injury lawsuit will be necessary. This can vary greatly depending on the victim’s specific insurance policy active at the time of the crash.
Arrests and criminal charges against drunk drivers
Criminal charges are brought by the state after evidence of drunk driving is discovered. The victim may be asked to cooperate with police and the prosecutor assigned to the case, but this process is mostly out of the victim’s control. It is also unlikely that the victim will be compensated adequately from criminal charges, even if the defendant is found guilty and restitution for the victim is ordered as a part of a sentence. On the other hand, if the defendant is found not guilty or the case is dismissed in criminal court, they may still be sued as the burden of proof is lower in civil cases.
Uses of evidence in a civil case
Evidence of drunk driving can be very helpful to a plaintiff in a civil accident case. The fact that the person drove under the influence is strong evidence of negligence, and any jury would conclude that the plaintiff should be able to recover. This means that the case is likely to end with a settlement agreement. If the victim sustained fatal injuries, certain family members can bring the case on their behalf under the state’s wrongful death statute.
Assistance after a crash in Louisiana
Miller, Hampton, and Hilgendorf is an experienced and trusted firm that is ready to help clients with accident lawsuits in Baton Rouge and nearby parts of Louisiana. After any kind of motor vehicle collision, victims can contact the firm to schedule a meeting and learn about their rights and remedies.
Firm contact info:
3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806