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Can I Sue for a DUI Crash if the Driver Was Not Convicted?

 Posted on May 10, 2024 in Car Accident

CA injury lawyerAfter being hit by a drunk driver, you might have two different legal cases to deal with. One is the likely criminal prosecution against the drunk driver for a DUI with bodily injury. The other is your civil lawsuit against the drunk driver as you seek to recover compensation for your injuries. What happens to your civil lawsuit if the driver evades criminal liability for his DUI? You can likely still recover compensation for several reasons. The standard of proof required in civil cases is different, and the driver is probably still liable for the car crash he caused even if you cannot prove that he was drunk at the time. A Santa Clara County, CA drunk driving accident attorney can help.

Different Standards of Proof in Civil and Criminal Cases

To criminally convict a driver for a DUI with bodily injury, the state needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was driving drunk and his intoxicated driving is what caused your injuries. This is a high standard. There must be extremely strong evidence that the driver was drunk.

To prove in a civil lawsuit that the driver was drunk when he hit you, you only need a preponderance of the evidence. This simply means that you must convince the court that it is more than 50 percent likely that the driver was drunk and his intoxication is what caused him to crash into you. This is much easier to do. Testimony from neutral witnesses that the driver looked drunk is often enough.

The Driver is Probably Liable Even if You Cannot Prove Intoxication

What if you cannot prove that the driver who hit you was drunk? Nothing - if you can prove that the accident was his fault, he is liable for your injuries whether he was drunk or sober. It is easier for a lawyer to establish that the at-fault driver was negligent if he can show that the driver was drunk because proof that the driver was breaking a law designed to keep people safe automatically means that the driver was negligent.

However, there are other ways to prove negligence. Was the driver speeding or running a red light? Was he following too closely? Did he fail to yield to you when he was required to do so? All of these are examples of negligence.

Contact a Santa Clara County, CA Drunk Driving Accidents Attorney

Fuller Law Firm is dedicated to helping people who have been injured by a drunk or careless driver. Experienced San Jose, CA DUI crash lawyer Cory Fuller strives to give each client a voice in a complex legal system. Contact us at 408-234-7563 for a complimentary consultation.

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