If you or someone you know has been involved in a South Carolina auto accident that was caused by a drunk driver, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, thousands of accidents occur each and every year in South Carolina as a result of impaired drivers and many of these lead to injuries or, in the most tragic cases, death. What can you do after being involved in such an accident? Keep reading to find out.
When you are involved in an accident with an impaired driver, whether the person is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications, it becomes much easier to prove the fault of the other driver. In most cases, the fact that the person was impaired and likely arrested will be overwhelming proof that he or she was responsible for the collision. Moreover, the videos, sobriety tests, and breath and blood analyses that will likely be collected incident to the other driver’s arrest can provide further evidence of the other driver’s fault.
Can you sue?
Absolutely. If you or someone you know has been injured in a South Carolina car accident involving a drunk driver you can absolutely bring suit against the responsible driver for injuries that resulted from the crash. Just like any other person who caused an auto accident, impaired drivers can be held financially responsible for their actions.
What about criminal charges?
Something that can confuse many people is when a simultaneous criminal action is being prosecuted against a drunk driver. Many people believe that you cannot bring a civil lawsuit against someone who is in the midst of dealing with criminal charges. Thankfully, that is completely incorrect. Just because a person is facing criminal punishment for their actions does not protect them from being held accountable in the civil justice system. Even if the person has been convicted and is behind bars, he or she can still be sued and forced to pay any judgment that results from a personal injury suit.
Car accidents caused by drunk drivers allow for the same opportunity to collect damages as any other auto accident case. Impaired drivers can be held responsible for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages and property damage, as well as pain and suffering, assuming the facts of the case allow for it.
Beyond the normal damages at issue in most South Carolina auto accident cases, drunk driving cases can also involve punitive damages. Punitive damages represent a special category of damage that is typically reserved for the most severe cases where someone has been seriously injured due to reckless or grossly negligent behavior. Punitive damages are meant to serve as punishment (hence the name) for the drunk driver and serve as additional compensation for the victim of the accident. Any punitive damage award is paid out on top of the compensation the victim should already receive for his or her injuries.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.