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DUI lawyer Montgomery County MD

Seeking Compensation for a DUI Accident

Seeking Compensation for a DUI Accident

If you were injured in an accident in Montgomery County that was caused by an intoxicated driver, it may be in your best interest to discuss your situation with a DUI lawyer Montgomery County, MD accident victims can rely on.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

It is illegal to drive while impaired from alcohol and/or drugs. Even if the drugs are prescribed medication by a doctor or are over the counter medication, if they impair a driver’s senses and abilities, it is a crime. A DUI is typically punishable with jail time, fees and/or fines, and in many cases, license suspensions and removals, and other penalties. If you have been injured in an accident with a driver that was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should not have to pay for your medical and other expenses that arise as the result of your injuries.

If you’ve been injured by a driver that was driving under the influence in MD, a Montgomery County DUI lawyer may be able to protect your rights and help you to get the compensation you deserve.

A DUI Accident can Result in Both a Criminal and a Civil Case

It does not matter whether or not the intoxicated driver that caused your accident has been charged or convicted of a DUI (driving under the influence) or a DWI (driving while intoxicated) for you to seek compensation in a civil claim and lawsuit.

A person can be tried in two separate cases for a DUI, in a criminal case and in a civil case. Criminal charges are always brought about by a government agency such as the police, sheriff or FBI, etc., and a prosecutor that is employed by the government is who will try to get the person convicted of the crime they have been charged with. Civil charges can be brought about by a private person and more often than not, seek monetary restitution for what they have been wronged by. People recommend enlisting the help of a Montgomery County, MD DUI lawyer if you are seeking compensation for an accident that happened in Montgomery County or anyplace in Maryland.

Criminal cases are tried in criminal courts which are separate from civil cases that can be tried in different levels of civil courts from federal courts on down to state and local courts. A Montgomery County, MD DUI lawyer may be able to get you the compensation you deserve regardless of whether or not the negligent driver that caused your injuries has been tried for their crime. You should not have to suffer financially in addition to the physical and/or emotional pain you have already endured.  

For a highly rated DUI lawyer Montgomery County, MD is fortunate to have in its midst, contact Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for a free case evaluation, any time of the day or night, any day of the year.

What’s The Difference Between a DUI and DWI?

In both a DUI and DWI, the driver was intoxicated, but there are important differences between the two. In a DWI, the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) below 0.08 (the legal limit in Maryland), but was exhibiting signs of intoxication. In a DUI, the driver was above the legal limit regardless of whether the person was showing signs of being drunk or on drugs. As an experienced DUI lawyer in Montgomery County, MD can explain, a DUI is a very serious offence and can result in harsh penalties for the offender. If you were injured in an accident involving an intoxicated driver, you should contact Cohen & Cohen P.C. to see if you should seek compensation for your damages. 

Seeking Compensation for Your Expenses

When you get into an accident with an intoxicated driver, it can be life altering. You may have lots of medical bills piling up from surgeries, physical therapy, psychological care, follow-up visits and so much more. You might also be unable to work and support your family as you had previously while you recover. In some circumstances, you might not be able to return to work again. Regardless of your situation, you shouldn’t have to pay for these expenses that were the result of another person’s poor judgement. It’s wise to speak with an attorney to learn what your options are for recuperating your costs. Hiring an attorney to represent you can result in larger settlements than if you tried to represent yourself. This is because a lawyer understands the law surrounding DUI’s and will fight so you receive the maximum benefit possible. To win a case, you must prove:

  • The defendant was responsible for the accident. A lawyer will use police reports, witness statements, etc. as evidence to support your case.
  • The accused party acted in a reckless or negligent manner. It may seem like because the defendant was intoxicated that this should be an obvious conclusion, but that isn’t always the case. An adept DUI lawyer in Montgomery County, MD from a firm like Cohen & Cohen P.C. will understand what kind of evidence to gather to demonstrate negligence.
  • The defendant caused the damages you incurred. You will need to demonstrate that they are either directly responsible for your damages or that they knew that their actions would potentially result in harm.
  • That the damages you are claiming are reasonable. Medical bills, lost income, etc. are easy to show on paper, but some costs like emotional trauma are harder to quantify. A skilled lawyer can help determine numbers for your suffering and argue for a fair settlement on your behalf. 

How Does A DUI Criminal Case Affect A Civil Case? 

If the drunk driver who caused your injuries was charged with driing under the influence you can still pursue your own civil claims against the drunk driver. It does not matter if any criminal charges have or have not been filed against the drunk driver–you can still file a civil lawsuit against the drunk driver who caused your injuries. 

Civil lawsuits involve civil law, not criminal law, and different substantive and procedural rules govern civil lawsuits and criminal cases. Under the criminal law, a prosecutor represents the people of the state and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. The prosecutor seeks a conviction for the defendant, and if the defendant is convicted then he or she will be sentenced. The standard of proof in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt, and this is higher than the standard of proof in a civil case. 

When you assert a civil claim against the drunk driver you or your attorney must prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence standard. To satisfy the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof you must present more credible evidence than the opposing side. If you present 51% credible evidence and the opposing counsel presents 49% credible evidence then you have satisfied the preponderance of the evidence standard. 

The civil lawsuit may come after the criminal prosecution. If this is the case, then the evidence that was admitted by the court in the criminal case will usually be allowed in the civil case. If the drunk driver is convicted of a crime this may help your civil case. The conviction is a public record and thus it will be admitted as evidence that you can use to establish your civil claim. 

In your civil case you need to prove that the drunk driver was liable for your personal injuries. Some of the evidence that you may want to use in your civil lawsuit includes the following: 

  • Oral testimony of witnesses who saw the drunk driver consuming alcohol 
  • Statements and reports made by accident reconstruction experts 
  • Any photographs or videos of the accident scene 
  • Surveillance videos that may contain evidence of the automobile accident 
  • Any readings or tests containing evidence of the drunk driver’s blood alcohol concentration 
  • The traffic collision report documenting the automobile accident and what caused the automobile accident

You do not have to wait until the criminal case is over before you or your attorney files a complaint for damages against the drunk driver. You need to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible regarding your civil lawsuit against a drunk driver. If you wait too long you can lose your right to ever seek monetary compensation for the injuries you suffered in the automobile accident. 

Contact Cohen & Cohen Attorneys in Montgomery County, Maryland 

Contact Cohen & Cohen Attorneys today to schedule a free consultation during which we can discuss the facts of your case and how the law applies to those facts. Call our office at (301) 250-1957 to learn more about the legal services we offer. We offer excellent legal representation and customer service. Contact Cohen & Cohen Attorneys today.

Common Damages in a Car Accident Caused By a Drunk Driver

If you were injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation. An experienced DUI lawyer in Montgomery County, MD can help you pursue a claim against the driver. Here are some common damages you may be able to obtain in your car accident claim.

  • Medical bills. If you were involved in a car accident with a drunk driver, you may suffer injuries. Your injuries could be as mild as bruising or as serious as a traumatic brain injury. Either way, you are entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills. Even if you feel fine after the accident, you should still seek immediate medical attention. Medical expenses from a vehicle accident may include ambulance fees, surgery, physical therapy, assistive devices and home care. If your injury is expected to cause disability, you may receive additional compensation for long-term medical care.
  • Lost wages. Following a car accident with a drunk driver, you may have to take time off work to recover from your injuries. If your injury is severe enough, you might not be able to perform the same work as before, reducing your earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering. Some car accident injuries may lead to prolonged pain and suffering. For example, if you suffered a severe back injury during an accident and have trouble sleeping because of it, you may be able to claim pain and suffering damages in your car accident claim.
  • Emotional distress. Many people associate car accidents with just physical injuries. However, these accidents can result in more than broken bones and neck injuries. They can also cause emotional injuries, like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. You might be afraid to get into a vehicle again or feel depressed because of your injuries. It may be necessary for you to go to mental health counseling to recover. In this situation, you may be eligible to receive compensation for emotional distress.
  • Property damage. If a drunk driver hit your vehicle, you may have also sustained property damage. Whether the windows were broken or the bumper got damaged, you may obtain compensation for that. You may also be eligible to receive compensation for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

 

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