There are many legal issues that surround a DUI car accident case in Chicago.
Though everyone is aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, many people still operate their cars while intoxicated. This can give rise to many legal issues when a DUI accident occurs, from both the civil and criminal standpoint. In this article, we will discuss some of the key issues in DUI related car accidents.
Civil Liability for Damages Resulting from Alcohol Related Car Accidents
A drunk driver is almost always liable for any injuries or damage they cause while driving under the influence. Even in some no-fault states, there are exceptions that allow lawsuits for car accidents involving drunk drivers. Proving that the at-fault driver was drunk at the time of accident is not too difficult. Breathalyzers, field sobriety tests and blood tests are used to confirm the presence and amount of alcohol in the driver’s system at the time of crash.
A civil claim can have a devastating effect on the driver and can destroy his/her ability to obtain insurance and to drive, not to mention the financial implications that can leave the driver in a lot of turmoil. Moreover, victims of drunk drivers almost always file a lawsuit, and the liability is very easy to prove.
Criminal Liability for an Alcohol Related Car Accident Injury
In addition to civil liability, drunk drivers can also face criminal liability for the damages they caused. Car accident victims can bring vehicular manslaughter charges against drunk drivers. Even if there is no injury or property damage, drunk driving is still a crime and can result in forfeiture of driver’s vehicle, imprisonment, driver’s license penalties, and fines.
Criminal liability also extends to bars and restaurants that knowingly serve an intoxicated person and them allow them to drive. Even social hosts that offer alcohol to guests in their homes and knowingly allow them to drive can be held liable for the drunk driver’s actions.
In cases where minors drink and drive, adults who provide alcohol to them or allow them to drink in their homes can be held equally liable for the minor’s actions. In some states, there are laws in place that hold the homeowner liable if a minor was drinking in their home, regardless of whether or not they knew it was happening.
Effects on Auto Insurance
A drunk driving conviction can have a serious effect on a person’s ability to obtain auto insurance. Most insurance companies would not risk a high value claim or a potential lawsuit if the driver is convicted of driving when intoxicated. This affects not only the intoxicated driver, but the victims as well, because the victim will not have a financial recourse if he/she is injured by the drunk driver.
Contact a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer
At Willens Law Offices, we focus exclusively on representing individuals and their families who were injured by someone else’s negligence. We know that getting hit by a drunk driver has the potential to take over a person’s life, making it difficult to move forward. Our award-winning team of attorneys and staff want to help people take control of their situation so they can focus on what matters most — getting back on track.
Contact our Chicago office today at (312) 957-4166 or fill out our online contact form.