What to Do if You Were Hit by a Drunk Driver in Massachusetts
When driving on the road, motorist have a responsibility to operate their cars reasonably and safely to protect others from harm. This includes following the rules of the road, taking safety precautions to prevent an accident, and not driving under the influence. When a motorist fails this duty and drives under the influence of alcohol, they can cause severe harm to themselves and others.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of an intoxicated motorist, speak to a Boston drunk driver accident lawyer to learn about how you may be eligible to seek compensation. A dedicated car accident attorney can investigate your crash, calculate your damages, and fight to get you adequate compensation for your injuries.
Difference Between Drunk Driving Cases And Other Car Accident Cases
A car accident injury case caused by a drunk driver is different from other cases because of insurance coverage issues for the drunk driver. Many insurance policies have provisions in them that do not provide coverage or at least do not provide coverage beyond the compulsory limits if the car accident was caused by operators being intoxicated. That is a potential insurance coverage problem that needs to be investigated.
In addition to insurance coverage issues, if the drunk driver had been drinking at either a bar or restaurant with a liquor license, for example, there could be a dram shop claim against the facility or place of business where the driver had been over-served alcohol. That would be a claim separate and distinct from a car accident personal injury claim.
Common Fact Patterns in Drunk Driving Collisions
One of the most common fact patterns associated with drunk driving accidents is that, often, a drunk driver might try and flee the scene either by driving away or on foot because of the fear of being arrested. Maybe they have a history of prior incidents of driving while intoxicated. Maybe they have a license that had been suspended or revoked from prior incidences of driving while intoxicated.
Legal Process of an Automobile Collision With An Intoxicated Motorist
If a person is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, they should seek representation by an experienced car accident attorney to make sure that their rights are protected. All potential defendants and insurance companies are put on notice and that their right to bring a lawsuit is protected.
The injured driver does not press charges against the drunk driver. That is something that typically the local authorities would do themselves if the accident was serious enough that police arrived at the scene. They would be placed under arrest, and then charges would be brought to either the local district attorney or the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, depending on the jurisdiction of the street where the accident happened. The injured party would be asked to be available, if necessary, to testify at a criminal proceeding.
The injured party themselves will be involved with assisting their seasoned lawyer in the discovery process by providing documentation in response to requests for production of documents, providing information for their Boston drunk driver accident attorney to prepare answers to interrogatories and then eventually testifying at a deposition. If the case does not settle, they will then need to testify at trial.
What If the Injured Party Was Intoxicated?
If the injured person was also the drunk driver, then they were at fault for causing their own injury. Hopefully, they were the only injured party and did not injure some innocent party, either a pedestrian or occupant of another car. There could be a disclaimer of or denial of coverage under the insurance policy if the person violated the terms by driving while intoxicated.
Comparative Negligence in an Automobile Accident
If it is established that the majority of fault was on the part of the drunk driver, then negligence gets pursued through a personal injury case. The ultimate fact finder who would determine the proportionality of negligence between the injured person and the drunk driver is the jury in the personal injury lawsuit, regardless of what might have transpired before in the criminal matter.
However, a conviction of drunk driving may be offered into evidence to show that the drunk driver was found or had admitted that they were operating the vehicle while intoxicated, and that could be evidence of their negligence.
Speak to a Boston Drunk Driver Accident Attorney Today
When an accident occurs due to a drunk driver, the intoxicated motorist may be liable for any damages and injuries that occur. With the help of a Boston drunk driver accident lawyer, you can seek justice for your injuries. Call today to learn more about how a knowledgeable attorney could help you seek the compensation you need.