How DUI Accident Claims Differs From DUI Criminal Cases

Don't assume you understand a DUI (driving under the influence) accident claim because you have prior experience with DUI criminal cases. DUI accident claims differ considerably from DUI criminal cases. Below are some ways the accident claims differ from the criminal process.

You Must Prove Harm

You must prove that the defendant caused you harm to pursue an injury case against them. This proof is one of the elements of a personal injury case, which alleges that:

  • Someone owed you a duty of care
  • The person field to exercise the required care
  • The failure caused your accident
  • You suffered actual damages

Consider a case where a drunk driver swerves into your lane and nearly hits your car. You don't have an injury case here because you haven't suffered actual harm. You can only have an accident case if the motorist actually hits your car or forces you into an accident.

However, a drunk driver doesn't have to cause an accident to face DUI criminal charges. A police officer could arrest and charge a driver with DUI even if the driver was driving as carefully as any other sober motorist.

You Must Start the Case

You must file an injury case if you suffer harm at the hands of an intoxicated driver and want compensation for your damages. The police will not file or pursue the case on your behalf.

However, the government doesn't need another person's push to file a DUI case against a drunk driver. If the police have reasonable cause to believe that someone drove while intoxicated, they can pursue drunk-driving charges against the motorist.

You Use the Preponderance of Evidence Standard

The threshold for proving a DUI accident case is lower than that for proving a DUI criminal case. For your injury case, you only need to prove the defendant more likely than not caused your injuries.

This threshold is lower than the prosecutor needs to prove in a criminal DUI case. For the criminal case, the prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant operated a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The threshold difference is in place to avoid DUI convictions on innocent defendants, given the severe consequences of such convictions.

Don't assume you will get the compensation you deserve even if a criminal court has convicted the defendant. You must pursue your injury claim to get compensation. For more information, contact a personal injury lawyer near you.