If a drunk driver causes a fatal or injurious collision in Illinois, the driver will be financially responsible to pay for the damages suffered by the people he or she injures. These damages will include the costs of medical care, property damage, lost income and other economic and noneconomic losses stemming from the accident.
If you or your loved one was injured or killed in a drunk driving vehicle crash, you may want to know the following:
Criminal court proceedings after a DUI
The drunk driver who caused your car crash will probably face criminal charges relating to driving under the influence and causing injuries and/or deaths. Government prosecutors will pursue these charges against the drunk driver in criminal court independently of what you choose to do. If a conviction occurs, the drunk driver may face jail time and other criminal punishments. The court will not order the defendant to pay you financial damages as a result of the DUI conviction.
Civil court proceedings after a DUI accident
If you wish to seek financial damages, you will need to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the drunk driver in civil court. This is an entirely separate action that you must prepare and file, and you need to do it as soon as possible before any associated time limitations pass.
What if the criminal case doesn't lead to a conviction?
If the criminal lawsuit against the at-fault party in your case does not result in a conviction, it does not mean you won't have a viable personal injury claim. For example, you can still hold the at-fault party responsible for negligence or recklessness.
Before you file a claim
Before you file a claim for damages after a drunk driving accident, you'll want to fully understand all of the facts and evidence surrounding your case, and what factors will be most important for the civil court judge who decides your case. A thorough review of this kind of information will reveal the most viable strategy to pursue damages in your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can review your situation and discuss your legal options.