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How Do I Sue for Damages by a Drunk Driver?

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Friday September 10, 2021.

Most lawsuits related to drunk driving accidents involve an injured person suing the drunk driver who caused the accident, but in some cases, you can sue another party who irresponsibly provided alcohol to the driver.

In some car accidents, it is one person’s word against another’s about who is at fault for the accident, but in drunk driving accidents, proving that the other person was negligent is straightforward. If the driver got arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) after the accident, you have all the evidence that you need, even if they were not convicted. In a personal injury lawsuit, you do not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was drunk, like you would in a criminal case. You only have to show a preponderance of the evidence, which means that there was a greater than 50% chance that the driver was drunk. If their breathalyzer showed a blood alcohol content (BAC) high enough for DUI charges, or if they made a major driving mistake and then refused a breathalyzer, that is enough to persuade the civil court that you are entitled to damages. A Tulsa drunk driving accident lawyer can help you collect damages after a car accident caused by a drunk driver.

What Damages Can You Seek from a Drunk Driver?

In a personal injury lawsuit, including a drunk driving accident lawsuit, you can sue the person who caused the accident, requesting that they pay enough to compensate you for the financial losses you suffered because of their negligence. In the case of a car accident, this includes your medical bills, vehicle repair expenses, and the income you lost from not being able to work while recovering from your injuries. All of these belong to the category of economic damages. If your injuries are very serious, you can also sue for noneconomic damages, commonly called “pain and suffering.” This is money that the defendant pays to compensate you for the ways in which the accident made your life worse on a long-term basis. The amount is calculated as a multiple of your medical bills, and it varies according to the severity of your injuries.

Can You Sue Other Parties in Addition to the Drunk Driver?

In some cases, it is possible to sue the bar or party host that provided alcohol to the driver who caused your accident; this is called dram shop liability. Oklahoma’s dram shop liability laws are less wide-ranging than some other states, but you can sue the party that provided the alcohol if the drunk driver was under the age of 21. You might also be able to sue if the defendant served alcohol to the drunk driver when the drunk driver was already visibly intoxicated.

Contact BDIW Law About Drunk Driving Accident Cases

A personal injury lawyer can leverage their negotiation skills and help you recover economic and noneconomic damages from the party responsible for your injuries after a drunk driving accident. Contact BDIW Law in Tulsa, Oklahoma or call (918) 728-6500.