Will a Drunk Driver’s Conviction Help Your Car Accident Case in Boston?
Drunk driving is an extremely dangerous activity. Drunk motorists can experience sloppy motor skills, poor vision, and careless decision-making abilities. Thankfully, drunk drivers can be held responsible for crashes caused by their negligence.
A defendant’s drunk driving conviction can help your car accident lawsuit in Boston. The standard of proof in a criminal case is much higher than it is in a civil case. Accordingly, if a drunk driver causes an accident and is convicted criminally, then it may bode well for civil claims seeking damages related to the same crash. Still, regardless of defendants’ criminal convictions, plaintiffs in civil cases must present evidence to support their claims against drunk motorists.
If you were hurt as the result of a crash involving a drunk driver in Boston, our experienced Boston car accident attorneys at The Law Office of John J. Sheehan are prepared to assist with your claim. Call (617) 925-6407 for a free evaluation of your case.
How a Drunk Driving Conviction Can Affect Your Car Crash Case in Boston
Criminal lawsuits require higher standards of proof than civil cases. For instance, in order for a conviction for drunk driving to occur in Boston, the prosecution has to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. In other words, for the conviction of a crime to occur, enough evidence must be presented to prove that the defendant is guilty and that no sensible person would have reason to believe otherwise. If a juror in a drunk driving case believes that there is reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, then a conviction cannot be made.
On the contrary, the burden of proof in civil lawsuits is not the same. In order to recover financial compensation in a car accident lawsuit, you only have to prove your case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” To put it simply, you must prove it is more than 50% likely that the defendant’s negligence led to your harmful collision.
Therefore, a defendant’s drunk driving conviction may bode well for your civil claim because the standard of proof in criminal cases is so much higher. Still, regardless of a defendant’s criminal conviction, you must present sufficient evidence that supports the key elements of your civil claim. This means not only proving that the at-fault driver was drunk, but also that their negligence caused your crash. Our Beverly car accident attorneys can help evaluate the strength of your potential case.
Can You Sue a Drunk Driver if They Were Not Criminally Convicted in Boston?
Even if a driver is not convicted of driving drunk, they may still be sued for an accident they caused. A negligent motorist can be found not guilty in a criminal lawsuit and still be held liable through a civil claim. For instance, after a drunk driving accident, the state may decide not to pursue criminal charges or to drop the case. Furthermore, a drunk motorist may enter into a deal for a less serious charge. These circumstances do not prevent you from filing a car crash lawsuit against an at-fault motorist.
If you were hurt because you were hit by a drunk motorist, then you should call the Waltham, MA car accident lawyers at our firm immediately. Our team of experienced car crash attorneys will help protect your interests and identify the best route to compensation.
Should You Wait Until a Criminal Lawsuit is Over Before Filing a Civil Lawsuit Against a Drunk Motorist in Boston?
You should not wait for a criminal case to conclude before filing your civil lawsuit against an impaired driver. Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260, § 2A, you will usually have three years after the date of a collision to sue the at-fault motorist. If you wait too long to bring your claim to court, you may miss out on the opportunity to obtain payment for your injuries.
Also, our Boston car accident attorneys will need time to review your case and collect evidence. It may take time to identify at-fault parties. Furthermore, important evidence required to win your case can deteriorate or become lost as time goes on. It follows that you should get in touch with our lawyers as soon as possible after being struck by a drunk driver in Boston. Our team will begin work on your case right away.
Are There Other Parties Who Can Be Held Responsible for Drunk Driving Collisions in Boston?
In addition to drivers, there are multiple parties who can be held liable for drunk driving collisions in Boston. For example, homeowners may be liable for serving already-drunk or underage drunk drivers. This can be described as social host responsibility. In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, our car accident attorneys can help determine if a homeowner who served the at-fault driver is also to blame.
Furthermore, victims of drunk driving accidents may also bring cases against bars and restaurants that serve at-fault motorists. This is referred to as “dram shop” liability. A dram shop is defined as a commercial establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. If you suffered injuries because you were struck by a drunk motorist in Boston, then our lawyers will help determine if you have a valid dram shop claim.
Understanding the Laws Governing Drunk Driving in Boston
In Boston, drunk drivers can be charged with operating under the influence (OUI) if the concentration of alcohol in their blood rises above 0.08. However, a blood alcohol concentration below 0.08 may still cause impairment, specifically when combined with illegal narcotics. Further, for drivers under 21 years old, a blood alcohol concentration above 0.02 can result in their arrests.
In most cases, drivers will submit breath tests that are administered in the field or at police stations to determine if they are drunk. These breath tests may be followed up by actual blood work if necessary. Furthermore, those who refuse breathalyzer tests may have their licenses suspended. Our experienced Lowell car accident attorneys can help victims of drunk driving collisions review evidence and establish who is to blame.
Victims of Collisions Caused by Drunk Motorists in Boston Can Reach Out to Our Lawyers for Assistance
If you were injured as the result of a drunk driver’s negligent actions, get help from our Cambridge car accident attorneys. Speak with our experienced team at The Law Office of John J. Sheehan by calling (617) 925-6407 for a review of your case.