Many people think about drunk driving as a criminal issue, and rightfully so. Individuals who are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol face significant fines, probation, the loss of their license, and even jail time. If a drunk driver injures another person or damages property, he or she will face even more serious consequences and may even end up serving time in state prison.
While these criminal consequences may allow victims to feel a sense of closure and justice after an accident, it does little to compensate them for the losses they have sustained. This is due to the fact that a criminal case is a distinct legal action from a civil lawsuit (or personal injury claim) that is initiated by an injured party. In a criminal case, the state prosecutes a defendant for violating the law, and the penalties available are those authorized by state law. While in a criminal case the judge will consider the amount of damage and injury caused by a drunk driver, the consequences imposed are intended to punish the defendant, not compensate the victim.
In a civil case, on the other hand, the victim is the party who initiates the legal action in order to recover for the losses he or she has sustained. In a typical drunk driving accident case, the following types of damages are often pursued:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Loss of quality of life
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
If you have been Involved in an Accident with a Drunk Driver, you Should speak with an Attorney
It is important to understand that you need to take action if you would like to recover compensation for the losses you have sustained after a drunk driving accident. While the criminal aspect of the case will proceed without any input from you (the police that investigate the accident will present a file to the prosecutor, who will decide whether to issue a case), ensuring that your losses are paid for requires you to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit. In either case, getting the compensation you deserve can be a difficult process requiring a significant investment of time, energy, and sometimes, financial resources. For this reason, it is highly advisable to speak with an attorney as soon as you can after being injured by a drunk driver.
Call the Wilton Law Firm Today to Speak with a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drunk driver, understand that you cannot count on the criminal justice system to compensate you for your economic and non-economic losses. To learn more about we can help you obtain compensation, call our office today at 732-275-9555 or send us an email through our online contact form.