Many people are well aware of the fact that drunk driving can lead to criminal charges. But an impaired driver who causes an accident and injures another person may face another type of legal ramification in the force of a civil lawsuit. Below, we discuss how a drunk driver can be held civilly liable for your accident and what other parties may be liable.
Various Parties Who May Be Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident
Motorists who cause accidents while under the influence are held accountable just as they would if they had engaged in other negligent actions such as speeding, tailgating, or running a red light. Typically, medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage will be covered by the drunk driver’s insurance company.
However, if the intoxicated driver was either uninsured or underinsured at the time of the crash, then your attorney may pursue other options necessary to compensate you for your injuries and other losses. These may include:
- Suing the Drunk Driver. If insurance does not cover the costs of your damage, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the individual.
- Holding the Restaurant, Bar, or Other Establishment Liable. Under Colorado’s dram shop laws, an establishment may be held liable for injuries and property damage if alcohol was either overserved to someone visibly intoxicated or to someone under 21.
- Holding the Social Host Liable. Similar to dram shop laws, social host liability laws in Colorado mean that individuals who throw parties at their homes may be held liable for injuries and damages if they knowingly served a minor alcohol who then caused a crash.
Damages Available After Being Injured by a Drunk Driver
Damages available in drunk driving accidents are similar to those available in regular car accidents; in other words, you may pursue compensation related to medical expenses, disability, lost wages, lost earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering.
However, punitive damages are an extra type of damage available in cases such as drunk driving crashes or other situations where there is proof that the defendant (the impaired driver) acted with malice, willful/wanton conduct, or with a reckless disregard for the health and safety of others. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and set an example to deter similar behavior in the future.
Get Experienced Attorneys in Your Corner
Our Colorado car accident attorneys have represented numerous victims of drunk driving accidents. If you are injured in one of these accidents and need assistance, our team is here to help you get your life back on track. During your free, personalized consultation, we will review the details of your unique case and work hard to ensure you receive the best possible result.
Don’t wait to get in touch with us—time is of the essence! Contact Klein Frank, P.C. at (303) 448-8884 to learn more about your legal options.