Providence Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Driving under the influence is illegal, and everyone knows that driving drunk is a bad, dangerous decision. Still, drunk driving accounts for about a third of all car accidents year after year, including especially those causing the most serious and catastrophic injuries. Drunk driving is negligent driving, and drunk drivers can and should be held liable for the pain and damage they inflict when their drunk driving is responsible for causing a car accident. Providence drunk driving accident lawyer Michael Kiselica helps car accident victims throughout Rhode Island recover compensation for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other legal damages when they’ve been struck in a crash with a drunk driver. Learn more about the law regarding drunk driving car accidents below, and call the Kiselica Law Firm with any questions or for immediate assistance.
Does a drunk driver have to be convicted of DUI?
Most likely, a drunk driver will be arrested for drunk driving after a car accident and prosecuted for driving under the influence (DUI). This fact can impact your claim or lawsuit against the driver in a number of ways. For instance, if the driver is convicted of DUI, this fact can be used as evidence in your civil case and can be a quick way to establish the driver’s negligence, fault and liability to you. However, it is not necessary to wait until the driver is convicted of DUI to pursue your claim, and it’s also not necessary that the driver be convicted of DUI or even charged. The standard for liability in a civil case (the preponderance of the evidence) is much different than the standard (beyond a reasonable doubt) required to convict someone of a crime. So even if a person is not convicted of DUI, this does not mean you do not still have a strong negligence case. Also, there are many factors which go into a prosecutor’s decision whether to file criminal charges in a given case, so even if the driver is not charged with DUI, you may still have strong evidence that the driver was intoxicated and that this intoxication contributed to the accident.
Can I get punitive damages against a drunk driver who hit me?
Most damages in a personal injury case are compensatory in nature, meaning they are meant to compensate the accident victim for the harm they have suffered, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the responsible party for especially bad conduct that society does not condone and to serve as an example to others. Rhode Island law authorizes punitive damages in the case of reckless conduct, which means something more than negligence. Most people would likely consider drunk driving to be reckless conduct sufficient to make a claim for punitive damages appropriate. How much the person had been drinking and other factors may go into the decision whether to pursue punitive damages in a case of being hit by a drunk driver.
Will the insurance company cover its driver for an accident caused by drinking and driving?
Insurance policies often exclude intentional or illegal conduct from their policies. While drinking and driving is illegal and can be considered intentional conduct, the car accident itself is of course not intentional and is the result of negligence. For this reason, insurance companies generally will cover their drivers who are responsible for causing a crash and will compensate the accident victims accordingly. If the insurance company is trying to avoid liability because their insured was drinking and driving, be sure and talk to an experienced Rhode Island car accident attorney who will hold their feet to the fire and make them pay when their driver is at fault.
What is a dram shop law?
You may have heard about dram shop laws or dram shop liability for accidents caused by drunk drivers. A dram shop is an old term for an establishment that sold liquor by the “dram,” an old unit of measurement. Rhode Island has a dram shop law, called the Rhode Island Liquor Liability Act. This law holds certain persons liable for the negligent service of liquor. Under the law, a person who negligently serves liquor to a minor or a visibly intoxicated individual is liable for the damages proximately caused by the individual’s consumption of the liquor.
To be considered negligent, it is enough if the server knew the person was a minor or visibly intoxicated, or if a reasonable and prudent person in similar circumstances would have known the person was a minor or visibly intoxicated.
Nightclubs, bars and restaurants may try to escape liability by saying that a minor had a fake ID or that the individual did not appear visibly intoxicated. Proving that the persons responsible knew or should have known the individual in question can be difficult. A skilled and able personal injury attorney at the Kiselica Law Firm will know how to approach difficult questions like these and prove a case against the establishment.
Drunk driving car accidents frequently occur after the driver has left a bar or restaurant where the driver was overserved. Dram shop laws help prevent these accidents by deterring bars from overserving customers. Additionally, pursuing dram shop liability in a car accident case is one more way our Rhode Island car accident lawyer can see that you get the full amount of compensation available after a serious injury inflicted on you through no fault of your own.
Help with Drunk Driving Car Accident Injuries in Providence and throughout Rhode Island
For help after being seriously injured in a car accident with a drunk driver in Rhode Island, call the Kiselica Law Firm at 401-421-0300 for a free consultation with a skilled and experienced Providence drunk driving accident lawyer.