You have the right to sue for damages if an intoxicated or drunk driver in Anchorage, Alaska, injures you. A drunk driver does not need to face DWI charges before you can file a civil lawsuit against them. Potential victims who could sue for damages include pedestrians, occupants of other vehicles, and passengers in the DWI driver’s car.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Drunk Motorist in Alaska
The law allows you to file a lawsuit for damages if a drunk driver injures you. A motorist could be intoxicated if the drug or alcohol impairs their ability to drive a vehicle safely. You would need to prove that:
- The motorist was negligent.
- The motorist was under the influence.
- You suffered damages as a result of negligence.
It is important to note that you must still prove that the violation of the law caused your injuries regardless of what DWI law the motorist violated. This is because civil liability and criminal laws have different burdens of proof and serve varying purposes. Therefore, a motorist guilty of a DWI crime alone would not be a prerequisite to charge them for the damages.
Establishing Guilt in a DWI Lawsuit
DWI criminal laws are enacted to punish drunk motorists and prohibit others from driving while intoxicated. The evidence of guilt must be provided beyond a reasonable doubt, and all 12 jurors must accept the evidence provided.
Civil liability law compensates the victims of wrongful acts, and the” preponderance of the evidence” needs to establish the liability. In the DWI lawsuit, ‘’preponderance of the evidence’’ means it is ‘’more likely than not’’ that the motorist drove under drug or alcohol influence and injured the plaintiff. This case requires only nine of the twelve jurors to agree with the evidence provided.
Whether a DWI Conviction is an Indication of Negligence
A charge with DWI is substantial evidence that the motorist was negligent per se. This is because violation of DWI law constitutes per se negligence. Therefore, even if a motorist pleads to a dry reckless or other vehicle code violation and avoids a jail term, they would still be negligent per se.
A motorist could be responsible for a civil lawsuit for a DWI accident that does not prove them guilty under DWI criminal laws. In this case, the motorist has the right to provide evidence indicating that their impairment did not cause the plaintiff’s damages. The motorist could provide proof like:
- Impairment did not cause the accident.
- The accident did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries.
Wrongful Death and Drunk Driving
Often, a wrongful death lawsuit is a mechanism family members of the deceased employ to ensure that persons surviving the dead are compensated. For example, if a DWI motorist kills your loved one, you or another appointed representative could seek compensation for wrongful death on behalf of the loved one’s estate. Wrongful death lawsuits are different from standard personal injury negligence lawsuits, but they follow the exact roadmap.
Damage Calculations In DWI Lawsuits
While seeking compensation in any civil case, the nightmare is calculating the possible damages owed to help you recover fully after the DWI accident. Often, you will receive compensation based on the damages suffered and the estimated injury recovery period. If you settle the case successfully with the DWI motorist, the calculations will be within what the liable motorist can afford. However, a car accident attorney in Anchorage, Alaska, will explain what to expect.
When An Accident Is Partly Your Fault
Just because another motorist drives under the influence and the accident happens does not automatically mean they were 100% liable for the accident. The judges often adopt a ‘’comparative fault’’ standard of negligence. Comparative fault is also known as shared fault or comparative negligence. Comparative fault allows the jury to determine fault for an accident involving two or more parties.
The Action You Should Take When Hit By A Drunk Driver
You should call the police if possible when an intoxicated driver hits you. A chemical test and a police report are vital in proving whether a motorist was driving while high or drunk. You could also take specific actions whether the motorist was intoxicated or not. Apart from getting information from another driver, you should note down the following:
- Insurance policy number
- License plate number
- Insurance company name and phone number
- The name of the motorist
- Vehicle identification number
- Motorist’s license number
The videos or photos of the accident scene and vehicles involved are crucial. Writing down everything you could recall about the accident is also a good idea. The information you gather will be required if you decide to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the motorist.
Being involved in a car accident is traumatizing and could affect your life. You could need to undergo treatment if you sustain an injury, and at the same time, you may lose your car. After your car accident that a DWI driver caused, it is crucial to hire a competent car accident lawyer to help you file a claim and ensure you receive your compensation on time.