A person who drives after consuming alcohol is guilty of driving under the influence, or committing a DUI. Not only is driving while intoxicated a crime that is punishable under Illinois law when the individual’s BAC is .08 percent or greater, but it is also an act of negligence. As such, if a drunk driver causes an accident and injures another, the victim can file civil charges against the driver.
If you have been hit by a drunk driver in Rockford and need help recovering compensation for your injuries and noneconomic losses, the lawyers at the offices of Tuite Law are ready to represent you.
What Do I Need to Prove in a DUI Case?
It is important to note that criminal and civil cases, and the burden of proof, are much different. In a criminal case, one must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was in violation of the law – e.g. had a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 percent or above. However, in civil court, the plaintiff must demonstrate that by preponderance of the evidence, it is clear that the defendant’s negligent actions were the direct cause of the plaintiff’s accident and injuries. The plaintiff need not establish the exact BAC of the defendant (although doing so may be helpful), nor that the BAC was above the legal limit. In fact, any demonstration of negligence may be enough to hold the impaired driver liable for injuries.
Further note that the outcome of a criminal case and the outcome of a civil case can be different; a person may be found “not guilty” in criminal court, yet held liable for a plaintiff’s injuries in civil court.
What Damages Can I Recover in Civil Court?
If you decide to file a civil action against a DUI driver, you can seek damages for all of your losses. This includes, but is not limited to, compensation for all of your present and future medical expenses, your present and future lost wages and loss of earning ability, your pain and suffering, your emotional anguish or/and psychological injuries, and other economic and noneconomic losses.
Remember, in order to recover damages, you will have to prove both that you suffered the full extent of damages that you are claiming, and that your damages would not have been incurred but for the actions of the defendant.
Contact Our Law Firm for a Free Case Consultation Today
At the offices of Tuite Law, we believe that those who drink and drive should be penalized to the full extent of the law, in both criminal and civil court. While we cannot help you with a criminal case, we can aid you in pursuing civil charges and recovering the compensation that you deserve.
If you are injured by a drunk driver, do not hesitate to take action. Use our online form or call our offices directly to schedule a free case consultation with our talented DUI accident attorneys in Rockford, IL.