Making a strong case after being in a car accident can depend mostly on the tangible evidence you can collect and use for your claim. The evidence that you can use after a drunk driving accident will be a bit unique compared to what you might use in any other sort of claim, though. This difference is caused by the fact that there is a criminal element behind the cause of your crash.
Criminal Evidence Used in Civil Claims
The driver who crashed into you while intoxicated was committing the crime of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxication (DWI), depending on where you live. If the police responded to reports of your crash, then the driver should have been arrested and charged with either of these crimes. Assuming that the criminal case against that driver progressed as normal, they should have later been tried for the crime and possibly convicted.
Although the criminal justice system is separate from the civil court system, there can be some overlap when working on an injury claim. In particular, the evidence that the state used to prosecute and/or convict that driver can be useful to establish liability in your claim. Typically, in most states, the lower your liability, the greater amount of compensation that you can receive through a successful settlement or jury award.
Unique types of evidence that might apply to a drunk driving accident claim:
- Police report: The police officers who respond to a crash often create traffic crash reports which contain information that can be used in support of a claim. The reports that they write and submit later that day, possibly at the end of their shift, can recall information that you might have forgotten yourself. Furthermore, traffic crash reports will sometimes indicate who the police officer believes was the party responsible for causing the crash, often labeling the at-fault party as “Party 1” in the report. If you hire a local drunk driving accident lawyer to work on your claim, then they can use their familiarity with local agencies and departments to more easily get a copy of those police reports.
- BAC test result: When a highway patrol officer suspects that a driver who was in a crash is intoxicated, they may instruct that driver to take a field sobriety test. If an arrest was made, then the driver will also likely take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test when taken to the station. The results of that BAC test will show the intoxication of that driver to a scientifically accurate degree. Using the BAC result in your claim can better establish that the other driver was certainly experiencing inebriation and, therefore, should be found liable for your damages.
- Courtroom evidence: There might be other miscellaneous forms of evidence used in the criminal trial against the drunk driver that could become beneficial to a civil claim if used by an experienced attorney. For example, eyewitness testimonies presented in court can reveal interesting and unique information that could have been missed otherwise in the course of your claim.
- Conviction: The fact that the defendant was convicted in a criminal court can also be highly convincing in a civil claim when presented by a persuasive plaintiff lawyer. If a judge could be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was intoxicated, then it would make sense to expect a civil court judge or jury to reach the same conclusion.
Turning Evidence into a Convincing Claim
Getting the evidence of a driver’s intoxication from a criminal court or process is one thing. Using that evidence in a way that makes sense in a personal injury claim is something else entirely. To form your claim confidently and without putting stress on yourself, you should talk with a local drunk driving accident attorney about what happened. An attorney can act on your behalf as your case develops, turning it into a claim that truly represents the damages and hardships you have experienced.
Drunk driving accident victims in Orlando, Florida can contact Todd Miner Law and speak to Todd personally. In addition to being a former insurance defense attorney, Todd is also a former assistant state attorney. While serving as an assistant state attorney, Todd prosecuted DUI cases. Todd’s combined insurance defense experience and DUI prosecution experience helps Todd get his clients the money they need and deserve. Call (407) 269-5877 or use an online consultation form today to get started.