Maryland Attorney for Drunk Driving Accident Victims
Drunk driving never leads to anything good. Every year, people are injured or even killed by drunk drivers on the roads and highways of Maryland. While drunk driving may be criminally punished, drivers can also be held civilly liable for the damage, injuries, and pain they caused. A person injured in a drunk driving accident can file a personal injury lawsuit against the intoxicated driver. If successful, you could be awarded compensation to cover the costs of your injuries and other expenses.
It is important to note that civil liability works differently than criminal convictions. Certain actions, like drunk driving, can be both crimes and civil actions. However, civil actions typically have a lower burden of proof for plaintiffs, and a defendant does not necessarily have to be found guilty of a crime to be civilly liable in a related civil hearing. There may also be other possible defendants in a civil action than in a criminal proceeding.
If you were the victim of a drunk driving accident, you could file a personal injury lawsuit to cover the costs of your recovery. Contact our Maryland drunk driving accident lawyers to get help with your lawsuit today. Schedule a free, confidential legal consultation with our team with Rice, Murtha & Psoras. Call (410) 694-7291 to get started.
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Drunk Driving Accidents in Maryland
A civil action for a drunk driving accident is likely to be based on negligence. Negligence occurs when a defendant fails to fulfill a legal duty of care or obligation that they knew about or reasonably should have known about. Exactly what negligence looks like will vary from case to case. However, in drunk driving cases, negligence involves drunk drivers failing to drive safely.
A plaintiff may suffer any number of injuries and losses in a drunk driving collision. These damages could be physical injuries that require costly medical treatment. Losses could also include property damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle that needs expensive repairs. Damages can also be non-economic, such as physical or emotional pain and suffering. You can also sue because a loved one died in the drunk driving crash, and you wish to hold the drunk driver responsible for the wrongful death.
Who is liable may seem like a silly thing to ask. Most people would say the drunk driver is obviously the one liable for the crash and damages. While the drunk driver certainly bears much of the blame for the unfortunate event, there could be others who share some of this blame. Family or friends of the drunk driver who allowed them to drive drunk could be made defendants to your lawsuit too.
Our Maryland drunk driving accident lawyers can help you get started right away. Our team will fight to get you the compensation you are rightly entitled to after a drunk driving accident.
Proving Negligence After a Drunk Driving Accident in Maryland
When proving negligence after a drunk driving accident, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached this duty, the breach caused the accident, and the accident resulted in real injuries and losses. All four of these elements must be present if you are to be successful. If any single element were missing from your case, you would not be able to prove the defendant was negligent.
A duty of care is the legal obligation owed to a plaintiff by a defendant. Sometimes, a duty of care is explicitly stated by law or agreed upon by the parties involved. Other times, the duty is implied by the circumstances or the relationship between the parties. In drunk driving cases and most cases involving car accidents, the defendant owed a legal duty to drive safely. This duty is breached when the defendant drives drunk or under the influence of drugs.
To prove negligence, we can use evidence of the defendant’s DUI charges. the defendant’s DUI charges are usually admissible in Maryland civil proceedings. However, the DUI is separate from civil actions. the defendant does not have to be convicted of the DUI in criminal court to be liable for the accident in civil court. This is good for plaintiffs whose defendants were not found guilty of the underlying DUI charges.
Proving negligence in a civil case may not necessarily require proving the defendant had a particular blood alcohol concentration (BAC). In criminal DUI cases, a driver with a BAC of .08% is considered under the influence of alcohol per se and will almost always be charged. However, drivers with a lesser BAC can still be charged, and civil plaintiffs do not need to meet some sort of BAC threshold to be successful. Call our Maryland drunk driving accident attorneys for more information.
Who is Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident in Maryland?
In a personal injury lawsuit after a drunk driving accident, you might have more than one defendant to consider. Most plaintiffs know they should sue the drunk driver to get compensation for their injuries. However, other parties may bear some responsibility for the incident as well. Determining who shares blame in addition to the drunk driver might require some investigating, but you could sue multiple defendants over a single drunk driving accident.
If the drunk driver in your case borrowed their car from someone else, you could sue that other person for allowing the driver to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Typically, this third party must have known that the driver was drunk and allowed them to drive anyway. Finding out if any possible third parties could also be sued may be helpful if the driver in your case did not survive the accident. This way, you can still hold someone liable and hopefully be compensated for your injuries.
Call our Maryland drunk driving accident attorneys as soon as possible to get started on your case.
Call Our Maryland Drunk Driving Accident Lawyers
If you were harmed in a drunk driving accident, you might have a valid legal claim against the drunk driver. Our Maryland drunk driving accident lawyers are here to help you get the compensation to need to recover. Schedule a free legal consultation today with Rice, Murtha & Psoras by calling (410) 694-7291.