Focused On Achieving Results For You

Is a lawsuit possible after a drunk driver causes a crash?

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Most people in Louisiana readily acknowledge that drunk driving is illegal, but they may not know what to do after a drunk driving crash. People question whether insurance may cover their losses, as the driver did something obviously illegal. The good news is that liability insurance policies typically apply even after obvious legal violations, including drunk driving.

Unfortunately, even when there is insurance coverage available, a drunk driving crash could create injuries and property damage costs that far exceed the available insurance coverage. Someone who knows there isn’t available insurance or that the coverage isn’t enough might wonder if they can take legal action against the drunk driver.

Is a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit an option when an intoxicated motorist causes a wreck?

State law does permit litigation

Confusion about the law may prevent people from asserting their rights when they get hurt due to a drunk driver’s choices. People may feel uncertain about whether or not a lawsuit is even an option. Perhaps the drunk driver pleaded guilty to impaired driving charges shortly after their arrest. Their current incarceration may leave someone unsure about their ability to take legal action.

Some people may worry that a civil lawsuit may not be an option due to protections against double jeopardy. Other people might believe that they are unlikely to recover any significant amount of compensation because an incarcerated person cannot work a well-compensated job. Thankfully, double jeopardy rules only apply to the state prosecuting an individual twice for the same offense. Double jeopardy protections do not prevent civil litigation brought by those affected by criminal activity, like drunk driving.

Additionally, the state does not prevent people from suing drunk drivers while they are serving a sentence in jail or prison. They may be able to work a job while in state custody that helps them pay toward their financial responsibilities. They may also have assets that can help compensate the people affected by the drunk driving incident.

Those affected by drunk driving crashes often need to look carefully at all of their options. Holding impaired motorists accountable for the harm they cause is an important kind of justice that victims of such harm may benefit from pursuing.