Hit by a Drunk Driver – What Are My Legal Options?

young woman upset due to car crash

People hit by a drunk driver may face a long uphill climb ahead. They may be worried about severe medical impairments, lost wages, and even the death of a loved one.

So, what are your legal options if you or a loved one is hit by a drunk driver?

Drunk drivers and the injuries they cause to others can either result in civil court lawsuits, or they may also face criminal charges, including jail time and victim restitution.

Drunk Driver Civil Lawsuit vs. Criminal Court

The individual hit by a drunk driver in Las Vegas usually files a civil suit. This process is distinctly separate from the criminal charges the drunk driver faces in criminal court. The criminal process is designed to protect members of the public from harm, and aims to protect others from the reckless actions of drunk drivers in the future.

Criminal prosecution of the drunk driver can happen even if he or she injured no one. An accident caused by the drunk driver isn’t necessary to trigger criminal prosecution.

The injured party files a civil legal claim against the drunk driver. He or she is either the victim of the drunk driver or the survivor of the victim fatally injured by the drunk driver.

Liability Issues

Nevada’s “dram shop” and “social host” liability laws may also apply if the drunk driver was underage and was knowingly served alcohol by a restaurant, bar, or other providers. It is possible that these parties may also be liable for the driver’s negligence in a Las Vegas drunk driver lawsuit.

The BAC, or blood alcohol content, for drivers less than 21 years of age is .02 percent. For drivers 21 and older, the level is .08 percent. There is no legally permissible BAC for commercial drivers in Nevada.

Drunk Driving Lawsuit, Damages, and Compensation

The civil lawsuit is usually the only way to recover medical expenses, damaged property, or lost wages that result from the drunk driver’s negligence. Money for the victim’s pain and suffering, or non-economic damages, may also be awarded to injured victims.

If an injury by a drunk driver results in a loved one’s death, his or her survivors or appointed representative (through previously filed power of attorney) can file a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. Wrongful death legal claims are a type of personal injury negligence suit. Medical care costs prior to death and funeral costs after death may be awarded to the plaintiff. Both economic damages and pain and suffering compensation is available.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm

One of the most important options the person injured by a drunk driver has is to obtain legal representation. Even though the injured person is not at fault, insurance companies are quite familiar in the defense of their insured guilty drunk drivers. Engaging an experienced personal injury law firm protects the injured, or surviving family members, from the battling insurance company crossfire.

Mainor Wirth is an experienced personal injury law firm.

We protect our clients in the time that follows a serious drunk driving accident. Our attorneys know how to demand the proper amount of fair compensation for injured people. We don’t stop fighting for our clients until they receive the money that is due after a traumatic drunk driving accident. Contact us for a free consultation, or call now at 702-464-5000.