Dealing with a car accident where the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be challenging, especially if they weren’t actually charged with a crime. This blog explores your legal options in such scenarios, highlighting the distinctions between criminal and civil cases, the remedies available through civil lawsuits, and the importance of punitive damages. It’s crucial for individuals in Georgia and east Alabama to understand the best options for seeking justice and compensation in this situation. 

  1. Criminal vs. Civil Cases: Understanding the Difference: First and foremost, it is important to understand that criminal and civil cases are controlled by different entities. While the state handles criminal cases (including DUI charges), individuals initiate civil cases. If a driver is under the influence but not criminally charged, you can still pursue a civil lawsuit for damages in many circumstances.
  2. Civil Lawsuits and Remedies: In a civil lawsuit, you can seek compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A civil lawyer can guide you through this process, helping to recover costs associated with the accident.
  3. Burden of Proof in Civil Cases: The burden of proof is less stringent in civil cases compared to criminal cases. To establish liability in a state court, you would only need to prove that it’s more likely than not that the other driver was under the influence and at fault for the accident at trial. This lower threshold can work to your advantage in a civil lawsuit.
  4. Gathering Evidence of Intoxication: Evidence is key in proving the other driver’s intoxication. This can include witness testimonies, police reports, and field sobriety test results. Blood tests, if available, can be particularly compelling. Gathering such evidence is crucial for building a strong case.
  5. The Role of Punitive Damages: Punitive damages play a significant role in civil cases, especially in DUI-related accidents. These damages are awarded not just to compensate the victim, but also to punish the defendant for their negligent behavior and deter similar conduct in the future. This is your best opportunity to maximize damages in a car accident case.
  6. Local Legal Expertise: Residents of Georgia and Alabama can benefit from local legal expertise. Understanding state-specific laws and regulations is crucial in these cases, and a local lawyer can provide invaluable guidance to local rules and customs.

What Gary Says About Speaking to Your Insurer After an Accident: 

If you find yourself in a situation where the other driver was under the influence but was not ultimately charged with a crime, it’s important to know your legal options. For further questions about this or any other legal issue, options you might have, and potential recovery for injuries or other damages, consider reaching out to The Law Office of Gary Bruce at 706-576-4279 for a free, no-obligation consultation.  Gary addressed this issue in a recent episode of “Legal Break” during the WTVM morning news.  This link will take you to the video: 

Car accidents involving an under-the-influence driver who hasn’t been charged criminally can leave victims feeling helpless and unsure of their legal options. The Law Office of Gary Bruce is here to help. With over 30 years of experience in dealing with insurance claims and defending individual rights, Gary Bruce offers free, no-obligation consultations to answer your legal questions and explore your options for recovery. Contact The Law Office of Gary Bruce at 706-576-4279 for expert legal assistance in these challenging situations.