Drunk Driving Accident: Who Is Liable?

Car accident scene

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a stunningly irresponsible choice that endangers the lives of the driver and everyone in his or her path. When a drunk driver causes another person to be seriously injured or kills another person, one should expect that driver to face criminal charges for their conduct. However, it is important to understand that a criminal case is not a mechanism to recover financial relief against the responsible driver.

Instead, a victim can seek damages against those responsible through a personal injury or wrongful death claim. This is a civil matter that must be pursued directly between the parties via a settlement or lawsuit.

Establishing Fault

In personal injury and wrongful death cases, the person(s) who caused the victim’s personal injury or death by wrongful act or neglect is liable for damages. The victim or heirs of the deceased that seek damages are responsible for establishing that the other party is at fault for the injury by negligence or wrongful act.

In a drunk driving accident, our instincts tell us that establishing the fault of the drunk driver should be a slam-dunk. This is not always true, as insurance companies that cover drunk drivers will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying what these claims are worth. They may try to shift some or all of the blame toward the victim.

The existence of a police report or citation of the responsible driver for driving under the influence goes a long way toward establishing the drunk driver’s liability. Moreover, if the drunk driver is convicted of the crime, liability is established for the civil lawsuit. However, it still takes an experienced attorney—who knows the law—to take these insurance companies to task and fight for your maximum compensation which could include treble damages against the at fault driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

People and Businesses Who Over-Serve Not Liable

While personal injury and wrongful death laws generally allow a victim to join any responsible party to a lawsuit to share liability, there is an exception when it comes to people and establishments that serve alcohol.

Restaurants, bars, and casinos are a critical part of Nevada’s tourism and economy. Notably, Nevada laws provide protections for people and establishments that serve alcohol. Unfortunately,   A person who serves, sells or otherwise furnishes an alcoholic beverage to another person who is 21 years of age or older is not liable in a civil action for any damages caused by the person to whom the alcoholic beverage was served, sold or furnished as a result of the consumption of the alcoholic beverage. There are exceptions, including if the person or establishment knowing serves alcohol to a minor. This protection however, does not protect these establishments from liability for failing to exercise due care for the safety of the person on their premises, or from failing to take reasonable precautions to protect the patrons from a foreseeable wrongful act.

Personal Injury Lawyers at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer. At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P., our award-winning attorneys take pride in pursuing maximum compensation from those responsible for our clients’ injuries. We have decades of experience in standing up for our clients and forcing big insurance to take our clients’ claims seriously. If you want results, call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 210-8178 to schedule a free case consultation or contact our office through our website.

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