Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a combination of both is illegal in South Carolina and all 50 states. If someone drives under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, and even prescription medication, they can face criminal charges if the state can prove that their ability to drive was impaired by the introduction of any of these substances, but they can face a civil lawsuit as well, which we’ll explain.
If you were injured by a drunk or drugged driver as you were walking on foot, riding a bicycle or motorcycle, or driving a vehicle, chances are the impaired driver was arrested and charged with DUI. Now you may be wondering, “Where does that leave me? What rights do I have as a victim in a drunk driving accident?”
Drunk Driving Crashes
For starters, we want to take a look at the statistics. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes – that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016.” The NHTSA goes on to say that more than 10,000 people are killed every year in drunk driving crashes at a cost of $44 billion each year.
If you were injured in a drunk driving crash, you have legal remedies, even if the drunk driver is facing criminal charges. In fact, it’s entirely possible for a criminal trial to run concurrently with a civil lawsuit (personal injury lawsuit). Meaning, if the drunk driver is facing a criminal prosecution or in jail, that has no effect on your ability to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver. Nothing is stopping you from seeking the compensation you need and deserve for property damage to your vehicle, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of income.
In light of the statistics, drunk and drugged driving are considered very serious in the eyes of the law. “Approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers,” according to the NHTSA. A DUI can be a misdemeanor or a felony and lead to jail, fines, license suspension, hefty legal fees and a personal injury lawsuit filed by victims, who by the nature of their victimization have a tendency to win against the drunk driver in court.