The victim in a collision with a drunk driver may have various questions. Can one opt for a claim against the driver for the injuries if a criminal case is filed against the driver? Yes, you have the right to take civil action. But to understand the difference between civil and criminal action, consult a personal injury lawyer.
Here is the explanation in detail.
The civil case will have different laws and process in comparison to the criminal case.
The driver can face criminal charges if the police arrest him or her on sit. It is driving under the influence of alcohol. The driver if proved convicted has to pay fine, lose the driving license and even imprisonment.
But if you are a victim, above criminal action may or may not help you. You may have suffered physical pain, loss of income, medical expense and emotional distress due to the accident. For getting compensation, you should take help of a personal injury lawyer. You can prove that the drunk driver is liable for your losses and thus, file a civil case.
Civil case and criminal cases are placed in front of different judges. The process of trial is also different.
It is essential to provide proper evidence in a civil case. These would include:
- The driver was drunk and his or her action led to the accident.
- Police report post car accident
- Photographs of the accident
- The blood alcohol concentration in the driver
- Witness testimony
But the best part is once the driver is convicted of DUI on the criminal side, you can use it as evidence. Thus, in a civil case, you will not require to produce such proof. But it is important to provide proof of your losses such as medical bills and other expense bills related to the injury.
In a criminal case, charges are proved beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, the civil case works on the balance of probabilities.
Should you wait for a criminal case to get over for filing a civil claim?
No, you should not. Why? If you have faced the injury under the drunk driving case, immediately talk with the personal injury lawyer to protect your claim. This is because to file a civil claim you will have limited time. You may lose the opportunity to seek compensation if you delay in filing. There are high chances you may not be able to recover the losses.
Also, a lawyer will evaluate the status of the criminal case to form the strategy for filing a civil claim.
Even though there is no criminal case involved, the drunk driving case remains complex. You need to present more believable evidence in comparison to the other side.