Lawsuits Against Drunk Drivers
We all know that sometimes accidents just happen but drunk driving is no accident. To the contrary, it is a selfish intentional act that tragically impacts thousands of families every year. It is not just an accident it is a crime. The Higgins Firm has a history of aggressively pursuing drunk driving offenders on behalf of the victims of their reckless actions. If you or someone you love was hurt by a drunk driver or person under the influence of drugs, then please contact one of our Chattanooga car accident lawyers at The Higgins Firm.
HOW ARE DRUNK DRIVING CASES DIFFERENT?
When pursuing a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver it is important to retrace the steps of the criminal offender before the accident occurred. This is important because it may provide valuable evidence at trial and lead to the discovery of additional defendants. The evidence may include witnesses that saw the driver drinking, whether he or she was obviously impaired, how much they had to drink and whether other parties may have added to the tragic accident. Often we discovery that the driver may have been allowed to consume too much alcohol at a bar or restaurant. In these cases the bar or restaurant may also be responsible as they have a legal and moral duty to not serve obviously drunk patrons. Unfortunately, some bars are more worried about making money than protecting the public.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN BE RECOVERED?
As in any car accident case involving serious injuries the victims may recover compensatory damages for the losses which they sustained. These damages may include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional damages
- Lost wage
- Loss of future earnings
- Medical expenses
- Permanent physical damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Damages for Wrongful Death
In addition to these compensatory damages a victim may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to deter criminal behavior like drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
Although a civil case can be brought while criminal charges are pending the court will often delay the civil case until the criminal case is over. This decision is completely within the discretion of the civil court Judge. We have handled cases where the court allowed us to proceed and other cases where the court made the parties wait for the completion for the criminal prosecution. Each case is different and there can be advantages to pushing the case forward or waiting. For example, information obtained by the district attorney in the criminal case is usually not subject to subpoena until the criminal prosecution is complete. As such, it is sometimes worth waiting to obtain that evidence. However, sometimes our client's damages are so severe that they need to move forward as soon as possible to obtain the compensation they need to survive. As such, the decision to wait or move forward is one we discuss with our clients on each case.
If your case involves a drunk driver you should contact an experienced injury lawyer immediately. Preserving evidence in these cases is a priority. The Higgins Firm will obtain witness statement, police reports, photographs of the scene and cars. If necessary, our firm can retain an accident re-constructionist or an expert in the field of intoxication.
If you or someone you care about was the victim of a drunk driver please contact The Higgins Firm today.
Contact us online or call us at 800.705.2121 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options