Unique Aspects of a Biloxi Drunk Driving Accident Case
With the unique aspects of a Biloxi drunk driving accident case, the need for an attorney cannot be understated. Not having an attorney could lead to no compensation for the injuries you or someone you love have sustained. However, with an attorney, you could rest assured that a legal professional is able to work toward a full and complete recovery for you. Reach out today to speak to a drunk driving attorney who could help you.
What Compensation Could Be Sought By Victims of Drunk Drivers?
With drunk driving accidents, and in all injury cases, there are categories of damages (compensable losses) that include compensatory damages, which are a combination of economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a clear monetary value: medical bills, lost wages, property damage of a car, over-the-counter medications, mileage going to and from the attorney’s office, and mileage to and from the doctor’s office. Noneconomic damages are forms of compensation for physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anxiety, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and other intangible losses.
In drunk driving cases, an attorney could show that the drunk driver acted in reckless disregard for the rights and safety of everyone out on the road and that this behavior is what caused the wreck and the injuries. In those cases, it is possible to recover the third category of damages called punitive damages. This form is designed to punish the wrongdoer for his or her misconduct and to set an example to deter those individuals and similarly-situated individuals from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
A Victim’s Role in the Legal Process
One of the reasons that someone who has been injured by a drunk driver has an experienced personal injury attorney in Biloxi is so that that attorney could take the burden of the litigation process on his or her shoulders and allow the injured person to focus on what is important: recovery.
The extent of direct involvement by the injured person is minimal. There are some things that the injured person generally must do in a wreck case involving a drunk driver. Often, the person has to give a deposition, and when that happens, the attorney would be right there by his or her side protecting the victim after preparing him or her for that process. Victims may or may not have to testify at trial, but for the most part, the burden of litigation is something that the Biloxi personal injury attorney takes on their shoulders so that the individual does not have to be concerned with that process.
Is There an Option to Press Charges Against a Drunk Driver?
Any victim does not have to press charges against the drunk driver. Usually, the police report to the scene, and, if the police feel that there is evidence that suggests the need to determine whether or not the driver who caused the wreck may have been intoxicated, they perform those tests. Based on the outcome of those tests, law enforcement officers would then pursue charges against the drunk driver regardless of what the injured person wishes.
Injury Cases and DUI Charges
A personal injury case and the DUI case always get handled separately. The DUI case is a criminal case, and that is a case that is prosecuted by the local district attorney or assistant district attorney against the drunk driver. The results of that case could include fines, jail time, or other criminal penalties against the drunk driver. The civil case, the injury case, is pursued not as a criminal claim, but as a civil claim.
The same judges sometimes hear both the criminal and the civil claims, but the burdens of proof are different. In a criminal case, attorneys must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was drunk and driving intoxicated in order to get a conviction. In a civil case, an attorney only has a burden to prove the claims by a preponderance of the evidence. An attorney must show that it is more likely than not the defendant, through his or her own negligent acts, caused the wreck and cause the victim’s injuries and that it is more likely than not the defendant was drunk at the time of the wreck and that contributed to the victim’s injuries. This shows that the defendant demonstrated a reckless disregard for the safety of others, including the injured person.
Does Shared Responsibility for the Wreck Affect Recovery?
Comparative fault in Mississippi never bars recovery. Therefore, if the injury was caused or contributed to by someone else, the injured person may still make a recovery and receive compensation from that person.
For example, say the jury awards $100,000 in a case. They find that the plaintiff has suffered $100,000 worth of injuries and is entitled to be compensated in that amount. If they apportion 60 percent of the fault to the drunk driver and 40 percent of the fault to the injured person, then in that scenario, the drunk driver would only have to pay $60,000 of the $100,000 reward. If the drunk driver were found to be 90 percent at fault, he or she would pay 90 percent of the award, so $90,000 in that scenario.
Connect with a Caring Defense Attorney
There are many unique aspects to a Biloxi drunk driving accident case. With drunk driving personal injury claims, they are almost always supplemented with a criminal case. While this does not directly affect the personal injury case, it does offer an element not seen in many personal injury claims.