DWI Lawyer Fairfax, VA
If you were involved in a car accident where there were injuries and were convicted or even admitted guilt to a Driving While Intoxicated charge, you may now possibly be facing a civil lawsuit against you from those injured in the accident.
If this was not your first offense, you were likely convicted of felony DWI, a criminal offense. The injured party does not benefit financially from a conviction and will file a personal injury claim in civil court to try to recover damages that occurred as a result of the accident.
If someone wants to file a civil lawsuit against you, they first have to ‘serve’ you notice that they are doing so, along with a copy of the complaint or petition. These documents are hand-delivered by either someone from the sheriff’s department or a process server. Understand that just because you have not heard from the people involved in the accident in a while, even years does not mean you are in the clear. Depending on what state you live in, they could file a civil lawsuit up to five years following the accident.
The civil lawsuit for driving drunk is a totally different process from the criminal trial you may face or have already faced for DWI. The purpose of a criminal prosecution is to prevent you from driving while intoxicated again, to protect the general public from encountering you driving drunk, and also to punish you for your actions. You can be criminally prosecuted even if you were not in an accident.
No-Fault Law Concerning Civil Suits with DWIs
The ability to file a civil lawsuit for damages as a result of your DWI will be different in states that have no-fault laws. In these states, there are limits to the amount of money the victim can sue for and then only if damages and/or injuries exceed a certain amount.
If the victim cannot file a civil lawsuit against you for damages, they can file a claim with their own insurance company for damages reimbursement.
Pure Negligence States and Civil Lawsuits
If you do not live in a no-fault state, there is nothing stopping the victim from suing the drunk driver for any injuries. The prosecuting attorney has to prove fault, just as in any civil lawsuit. A defense attorney and insurance company will try to show that the victim was partially at fault and therefore may have somewhat contributed to the accident. Perhaps the other driver ran a red light or their driving in other ways was responsible for the accident.
If you are served with papers that state someone is suing you in a civil case because of injuries they received in an accident you were involved in and charged with a DWI, first check with your insurance company to see if they will hire an attorney to defend you. Some insurance companies may not work with you if there is a DWI associated with the accident.
It is always a good idea to check with a DWI lawyer Fairfax, VA relies on to discuss the civil case and how your DWI will affect your chances of fighting the case in court.
Contact Dave Albo – Attorney for their insight into criminal law and DWI accidents that lead to personal injury cases.