Injuries caused by a drunk driver frequently lead to civil suits. While drunk drivers can face serious criminal charges, with penalties that may include jail time and restitution, they can also face civil liability if they are sued by their victims.
A civil suit for drunk driving is a separate and distinct process from any criminal proceedings a drunk driver may face. Criminal proceedings are designed to protect the public from future harm by acting as a deterrent to drunk driving, as well as to punish the drunk driver for acting in a reckless manner. A drunk driver can face criminal prosecution even if there is no accident or injury involved.
A civil suit in relation to a drunk driving accident is initiated as an injury lawsuit filed by the victim of drunk driver, or in the case of death, filed by the victim’s next of kin. If you are injured by a drunk driver, a civil suit could be your only recourse when attempting to recover any lost wages, costs of medical treatment, damaged property or other economic damages. Depending on the law of your jurisdiction, a civil suit also may offer the opportunity to recover non-economic damages such as money for suffering and pain.