Law enforcement may not always be successful in bringing criminal charges against a drunk driver for an accident. However, any indication of drug or alcohol use while driving points to negligence in a civil case. A lack of criminal conviction does not bar Seattle attorneys from suing for recovery of damages from drunk driving accidents.
The burden of proof in a civil case is much lighter than in a criminal case. Criminal cases require proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In contrast, the burden of proof in a civil case is guilt by a preponderance of evidence. The civil trial lawyer must convince the judge or jury that a greater likelihood exists than not that the driver was intoxicated. After establishing intoxication, abundant data supports the fact that intoxication leads to accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported there were 10,228 U.S. fatalities in 2010 that involved a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, comprising 31 percent of the total traffic fatalities in 2010. NHTSA considers any fatal crash where a driver had a BAC of .08 or higher an alcohol-impaired-driving fatality. Additionally, NHTSA found that drivers with .08 BAC or higher were four times more likely to have prior convictions for driving while impaired than drivers with no alcohol in their system.
For the most part, cases that involve Washington drunk driving accidents settle out of court. This is because insurance companies do not want to try a case where their insured was a drunk driver. Chances of winning are usually too poor.
Posted in Car Accidents
Tagged drunk driving accidents, Injury lawsuits