DUI Injury Lawsuits: 5 Questions Answered
It’s not always easy to know when you should seek legal counsel from a top DUI lawyer Bethesda MD has to offer. If you have questions about what a lawsuit might entail, this is perfectly normal. While it may be even more beneficial to speak in person with a lawyer about the specifics of your case, here are a few of the more common questions that DUI accident victims may have:
1. What are my legal options after being hit by a drunk driver?
One of the first actions you may have already taken is to file an insurance claim, either with your own insurer or with the other driver’s insurer (depending on your state laws). Maryland, like most other states, is considered a “fault” state regarding car accidents and insurance policies. This means that in the event of a car accident injury, the injured victim would file a claim with the insurer of the liable driver. As a DUI lawyer Bethesda MD trusts might explain, it is highly likely that the drunk driver would be considered liable; therefore, the injured victim would file a claim with this person’s insurer.
Another option is to file a lawsuit to collect financial damages related to your injury. Similar to other personal injury claims, this claim would focus on collecting financial compensation related to medical bills, lost wages, and overall pain and suffering. A wrongful death claim might be pursued by family members of an accident victim who suffered from fatal injuries. This is another civil court proceeding that may provide financial damages related to medical costs, funeral costs, and the pain of losing a loved one.
2. Will the other driver face criminal penalties if I make a personal injury claim?
Penalties such as jail time and a restricted driving license are punishments that result from a conviction in criminal court. If the other driver is convicted in criminal court, he/she might face some of these penalties. However, a personal injury claim focuses on providing the injured victim with financial damages. In fact, a skilled DUI lawyer Bethesda MD may supply might even be able to reach a settlement before the case goes to court.
Is it better to go to court or to agree on a settlement through negotiations?
This depends on the factors affecting your case. Some lawyers will state that they’re ready to fight for their clients in court right from the beginning. A good Bethesda MD DUI lawyer, however, will know that going to court isn’t always the answer.
It may be beneficial — especially for injured accident victims — to work on reaching a settlement through informal negotiation, mediation, or arbitration processes. This is because it is sometimes faster and cheaper to negotiate a settlement than it is to go to court. Additionally, a court ruling is not always predictable but it is final. A ruling that is unfavorable to the injured victim may be a huge waste of time and money.
Ultimately, if you are unsure how to proceed for your own case, talking with a DUI lawyer Bethesda MD drivers would recommend is a good way to determine your options.
3. If the other driver wasn’t convicted of DUI, will this hurt my case?
This may depend on a variety of factors, particularly related to what happened during the accident and what your state’s legislation says about liability. It’s often easier to claim a higher settlement if the other driver was convicted of an alcohol-related crime, be it DWI or DUI. It could be more difficult to prove your case if the other wasn’t convicted, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not impossible.
It’s essential to remember that criminal and civil court cases are handled separately. A DUI charge (the charge that the other driver may be facing) would be handled in criminal court, while a personal injury claim would be handled in civil court. A civil court might be inclined to rule in favor of the injured victim if the defendant was found guilty of DUI in criminal court. However, a talented DUI lawyer Bethesda MD provides may be able to argue your case successfully in civil court either way.
4. Can I file a personal injury claim on my own?
It’s not absolutely necessary to hire a lawyer before filing a personal injury claim but it could be incredibly beneficial to do so. A DUI lawyer in Bethesda MD who has handled car accident injury cases in the past may be able to navigate the legal system better while you focus on recovering. Many accident victims choose to hire a lawyer simply so they can focus on recovering, and this is a perfectly good reason to do so.
5. How does an attorney charge for DUI injury claims, and what if I don’t win a settlement?
Many lawyers charge flat-rate fees but others charge based on the settlement awarded. This allows injured victims to focus on the case rather than worrying about paying for services — especially if a settlement isn’t awarded. If a settlement is awarded, the lawyer may take a percentage of the amount (which would ideally be determined before taking on the case). It’s understandable if you are worried about affording a top DUI lawyer Bethesda MD can produce, but it’s important to know that you don’t have to face a personal injury case alone. Many lawyers will discuss services and fees with clients before taking on a case.
Speak With a DUI Lawyer Bethesda MD Drivers Trust
At Cohen & Cohen, we focus on providing exemplary legal counsel to accident victims. If you have additional questions about our services or if you would like more information about how we have assisted accident victims in the past, feel free to contact us today at 301-250-1957. We offer free case evaluations to prospective clients so that we may look at each person’s case in depth and discuss possible outcomes. At Cohen & Cohen, we’re proud to give our clients a DUI lawyer Bethesda MD truly deserves.