Facing An Injury Lawsuit After A DUI Crash
If you were involved in a DUI car accident, there are a few things that you need to know about your civil responsibility regarding injuries and vehicle damage.
If you ever cause a car accident while drinking, recovering from your injuries is just one of several problems you are facing. Hearing words like “You have been served” is a nerve-racking experience for anyone. If you have been convicted of — or plead guilty to — a drunk driving charge, then you can expect the injured person to take steps to file a car accident lawsuit in order to pay for their medical expenses.
A car accident lawsuit is a very complex process. Sometimes a lawsuit is filed by the plaintiff after a few days, but it can take weeks or even months after the accident occurs. It often comes as a surprise when you receive notice. In some states (www.tjryanlaw.com/orange-county) a lawsuit can be filed several years after the collision. At that time, you might be thinking that the injured person has decided not to bring a claim, or your car insurance company may already have handled the claim. If you are sued in your state’s civil court as the result of a drunk driving collision, you’re probably anxious about what you can expect. In this article, we will answer some of the questions that might be plaguing you at this time.
How Do I Know If I’m Being Sued?
A lawsuit will start when the injured person files a petition or complaint in their state’s court. The person bringing the lawsuit is referred to as the “Plaintiff.” The person against whom the lawsuit is filed is known as “Defendant,” and he must be notified formally about the case.
According to local law, the Defendant must be personally served with notice of the lawsuit and receive a copy of the petition or complaint. This means that a court representative will hand-deliver these documents to the Defendant. Usually, the Defendant is provided these documents within the 30 days of filing the petition. However, in some states, it can take 3 to 6 months.
Is Acting Quickly Important? Yes.
If you are served with a lawsuit then it is necessary for you to act quickly. You have to file all required documents with the court before the proposed deadline. It is very important because even if you get one day late, the court can decide on your fate without you, meaning that the person suing you will automatically win the case.
Therefore, if you receive notice of a lawsuit, immediately contact your insurance company. It is common for most insurance companies to have hotlines on which they can be contacted 24/7.
Will My Insurance Company Defend Me in Court?
A common feature of the majority of state insurance policies is that the insurance company will defend you if you are to be sued, and they will bear the expenses of hiring a lawyer for you. Although insurance companies will provide you with an experienced attorney, it is always recommended that you should discuss the lawsuit with a separate attorney as well. When the lawsuit is related to DUI or DWI, the Plaintiff may demand punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages. So, if the court decides against you related to Punitive damages, you may have to pay that amount from your own pocket.
What Happens If I Don’t Have Any Insurance?
In almost all states, it is necessary for you to have liability insurance for your vehicle. But, if for some reason, you were driving a vehicle without insurance and you caused an accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible and discuss this situation with him.
How Long Can the Lawsuit Take to Resolve?
Most lawsuits are resolved within a few months, but they can take several years to resolve in some cases. If DUI/DWI is a part of your case there is no guarantee that your lawsuit will be resolved within a 1 year period.
If I Was DUI, Does That Mean I’m Automatically at Fault for the Accident?
Usually, but this is not legal certainty. Just because you’ve been summoned for — or convicted of — DUI / DWI doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re at fault for a car accident. There is a possibility that the other driver may be at fault, he may have ignored the stop sign, or he may not be following the traffic rules.