Atlanta, GA – An intoxicated driver who causes accident damage before they are caught may potentially be sued by those they hurt. These cases are important for all victims, as it may be the best way for them to receive sufficient compensation for medical bills and other costs, regardless of whether they have auto insurance or not. For specific advice regarding how to proceed in these situations, victims should speak with a local attorney to decide if they need to take formal legal action.
Civil accident lawsuits versus criminal charges
Accident lawsuits focus on whether the defendant driver breached their duty of care on the roads when they caused the accident. This is known as negligence, and it can be shown through actions such as drunk driving, as well as other mistakes or traffic violations. The four elements of negligence are showing the relevant duty of care based on a reasonable driver in the same situation, a breach of that duty, actual and proximate causation, and specific damages or losses sustained during the crash.
This civil process is quite different from the criminal case brought by the government against a driver charged with DUI crimes. The elements in the criminal case are related to showing the operation of a motor vehicle after consuming a controlled substance or an amount of alcohol that put the driver above the legal limit. The standard of proof in these civil cases is a preponderance of evidence, which is a lower burden of proof than required in criminal court to prove the defendant was guilty of a drunk driving crime. This means that the civil and criminal cases can have different outcomes.
Damages in civil negligence lawsuits
When a driver is found to be negligent and responsible for the plaintiff’s losses, they will need to pay out several kinds of damages through a drunk driving accident lawsuit in Atlanta. Economic damages can be summarized through things like medical bills, property damage repair estimates, and the victim’s lost wages due to time away from work. There are also non-economic damages that are related to things like physical pain, mental and emotional trauma, and other quality of life problems that the victim endured after the accident. In some lawsuits that involve reckless behaviors such as drunk driving, the victim can possibly be awarded punitive damages as well. These damages are only meant to punish the driver, and they may not be tied to any specific losses like economic damages.
Additional information about lawsuits against drunk drivers
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