Skip to main content
BlogCar Accidents

How to Collect Evidence After a Drunk Driving Car Accident

By January 5, 2024No Comments

Criminal punishment represents just one facet of the consequences faced by a driver responsible for causing injury in a drunk driving accident. You deserve more. You need financial compensation to pay for your recovery when you suffer injuries in such an incident.

Considering the gravity of drunk driving collisions, you may deserve substantial compensation. However, receiving the full amount you deserve isn’t guaranteed. Even in situations where it’s evident to everyone involved that an intoxicated driver caused the crash, you may find yourself engaged in a legal battle.

Regardless of the circumstances, always enlist the services of an experienced Redding drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible. They will carefully gather evidence to substantiate your case and tirelessly advocate for the compensation you rightfully deserve after another driver inflicts harm upon you with little regard for the law and your well-being.

Schedule A Free Consultation

What Does the Law Say About Drunk Driving?

How to Collect Evidence After a Drunk Driving Car AccidentDrunk driving, driving under the influence (DUI), or impaired driving refers to drinking alcohol and then operating a motor vehicle. Motor vehicles also include motorcycles, golf carts, boats, jet skis, bicycles, and lawnmowers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 13,384 Americans died from alcohol-impaired driving crashes in a recent year; deaths like these were 30 percent of all total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S.

About 1.5 million drivers are arrested annually for driving under the influence. These actions continue to be a grave traffic safety and public health issue nationwide.

It’s against the law in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to get behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 or higher. BAC is the percentage of alcohol in the bloodstream.

If someone has a BAC at or above the legal limit, they are legally impaired. However, critical thinking and fine motor skills begin to drop as early as the first sip of alcohol.

Establishing Fault in Drunk Driving Incidents: The Crucial Role of Evidence

In drunk driving cases, you must still prove liability, as there is usually no presumption of fault. It’s your job to present evidence demonstrating that they were intoxicated, engaged in unreasonable actions given the circumstances, or both. While you might think it’s obvious the driver was drunk and to blame, you must provide evidence to prove this assertion.

Recognizing that the criminal case operates independently of the civil process is crucial. The only scenario in which the criminal proceedings can directly benefit your civil case is if the driver admits guilt to driving under the influence. Recognizing the automatic liability it implies in a civil case, drivers often opt for a plea of no contest in such situations.

No Car Accident Case is a Given – Proof is Essential

Securing a settlement offer in a car accident case is not automatic. There is no such thing as a straightforward civil case where fault is immediately apparent. Before receiving any settlement, you must demonstrate that the driver is accountable for your injuries.

Fortunately, the burden of proof in a civil case is less stringent than what the prosecutor must meet for a criminal conviction. Your task is to establish liability by a preponderance of the evidence. Winning a civil case is still possible even if the prosecutor fails to secure a conviction in the criminal proceedings.

Take Swift and Thorough Action in Collecting Evidence for Drunk Driving Accidents

Time is of the essence following any car accident, and delaying the investigation and compilation of evidence can significantly hinder your ability to substantiate your case months later.

The complexity deepens when crucial evidence relies on intricate tests, such as Breathalyzer results and blood tests. Laboratories retain specimens and test results for a limited duration, and understanding the storage conditions is crucial to prevent the loss of evidence.

To ensure prompt action, hire an attorney immediately after the accident. Attorneys are well-versed in working with evidence and can guarantee proper evidence preservation by the labs, enhancing its utility for a trial.

Field Sobriety Tests and Breathalyzer Results in Drunk Driving Cases

Field Sobriety Tests and Breathalyzer Results in Drunk Driving CasesTypically, officers administer a Breathalyzer test on the spot, a procedure to which drivers implicitly consent upon obtaining a driver’s license. Refusal to undergo a Breathalyzer test can lead to an automatic loss of the driver’s license, compelling most individuals to comply with law enforcement’s request.

In instances where a drunk driver is involved in an accident resulting in injuries, they may be mindful of potential criminal consequences and might refuse sobriety tests altogether.

Accessing Breathalyzer test results is possible by obtaining law enforcement’s test reports for use in your civil case. However, law enforcement may be reluctant to provide records in cases where a parallel criminal proceeding is underway, as it can complicate their case. Nevertheless, their compliance may become inevitable if a court intervention occurs.

In the event of a contested case that proceeds to trial, there exists a possibility that the insurance company may attempt to challenge the evidence. Such challenges might involve questioning the reliability of the testing equipment or the proper custody of test results.

It’s worth noting that insurance companies are generally hesitant to dispute evidence, especially when the intoxication of their driver at the time of the accident is evident.

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Evidence in Drunk Driving Cases

In the event of a drunk driving accident where the intoxicated driver sustains injuries requiring medical treatment, blood tests may be conducted during their hospitalization. These tests reveal the individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC).

Securing this critical evidence can significantly strengthen your case, and your attorney can obtain it from the hospital or medical facility. Typically, medical providers will not release such information due to HIPAA regulations safeguarding patient privacy. However, a court-ordered subpoena can often acquire this evidence, as the victim retains the right to access the test results for use in their civil case.

Your Attorney Will Take Charge of Evidence Collection

Your Attorney Will Take Charge of Evidence CollectionYou don’t have to navigate the process of gathering evidence on your own, and there’s no need for you to investigate your car accident.

Primarily, handling your legal case is impractical as you are contending with injuries. Additionally, a lack of experience in the legal system makes self-representation ineffective.

Law enforcement mainly focuses on securing convictions, with financial compensation ranking low on their priorities. However, your attorney takes on the responsibility of gathering evidence. As soon as you enlist their services, they take on the task of understanding the details of your accident.

A drunk driving accident lawyer possesses the skills and knowledge to gather evidence during post-crash investigations and throughout the discovery process inherent in drunk driving litigation.

You Are Not Necessarily Required to Prove Intoxication

While establishing that the driver was intoxicated can be advantageous to your case, as it demonstrates their negligence, it’s not always mandatory. Within personal injury cases, a legal concept exists known as negligence per se. This principle asserts that proving someone violated a law or regulation at the time of the accident serves as evidence of their negligence.

Financial compensation remains within reach even without proving intoxication. Qualifying for a settlement is feasible by demonstrating the driver’s negligence, irrespective of their sobriety status. In the context of a car accident case, negligence pertains to the driver engaging in actions deemed unreasonable given the circumstances.

Even without proving intoxication, a drunk driver probably acted in unreasonable ways, such as:

  • Swerving out of their lane and colliding with you.
  • Traveling against traffic and causing a head-on collision.
  • Maneuvering aggressively by weaving in and out of traffic.
  • Exceeding the speed limit significantly.
  • Failing to notice a nearby vehicle.
  • Disregarding a stopped or slowing vehicle in front of them.

Strengthening Your Legal Position Through Proof of Intoxication

Injury cases involving drunk driving often present insurance companies with an undesirable prospect in front of a jury. The sympathetic nature of your or your loved one’s plight, suffering an injury due to a reckless and callous drunk driver, gives insurance companies reason to approach such cases with caution.

Drunk driving incidents tend to make insurers less assertive in their negotiations.

The severity of the circumstances plays a crucial role in prompting insurance companies to be more reasonable during settlement discussions. While they may initially offer less than what you deserve, especially for punitive damages, the egregious nature of drunk driving incidents often brings them closer to a more just compensation.

While punitive damages are rare in car accident cases, they can become relevant when dealing with a grossly negligent or reckless driver, as is often the case with drunk driving. Establishing proof of intoxication significantly supports your legal standing.

Consultation and Evidence Preservation

Upon experiencing an injury in a drunk driving crash, prompt consultation with an attorney is essential. Your lawyer’s initial steps include reviewing your case and explaining the legal process, ensuring you fully understand the potential outcomes before filing a claim or lawsuit.

Car accident evidence is time-sensitive, and its preservation is imperative. Once an attorney is involved, decisive measures, such as evidence preservation demands, can quickly secure the proof of intoxication.

Even if obtaining test results takes time, you must maintain access to the evidence. The court demands a reliable chain of custody to avoid defenses of evidence tampering or corruption.

If you lack physical possession of the evidence, your lawyer can intervene, protecting it against tampering or loss. Once acquired, your attorney carefully documents and organizes the evidence, preparing it for presentation in a claim or lawsuit with maximum effectiveness.

Securing Legal Representation for Drunk Driving Cases

Navigating civil cases arising from drunk driving incidents is far from simple, even with compelling evidence establishing liability.

The complexity increases when dealing with two distinct car insurance policies:

Both insurance companies involved will likely pose challenges, aiming to minimize the compensation owed to you. In such a difficult situation, your drunk driving accident attorney stands as your sole advocate, countering the tactics employed by the insurance apparatus to mitigate their financial responsibility.

If financial considerations are a concern in seeking a drunk driving accident lawyer, know that you don’t need to bear any upfront costs. Instead, the lawyer’s fees are contingent on the success of your case.

This means that the attorney will receive payment from the proceeds of your case only if you win. You won’t have to dip into your pocket to retain legal representation, eliminating any financial risk and allowing you to access the legal support you require.

Your Complimentary Consultation With a Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

During your free consultation with a car accident lawyer, expect a tailored and informative session crafted to address the specifics of your case. The attorney will attentively listen to your account of the accident, inquire about injuries, and evaluate the available evidence. Then, the lawyer will clarify relevant laws, explore potential legal strategies, and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Russell Reiner, Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

Russell Reiner, Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

This initial consultation allows you to assess the attorney’s experience and determine if they are the right fit for your case. You will gain valuable insights into the legal process, your rights, and the potential outcomes of your case.

Moreover, the lawyer may outline the subsequent steps for pursuing compensation, whether through negotiations with insurance companies or legal action.

The free consultation is a crucial first step in understanding the viability of your drunk driving accident case and obtaining the guidance necessary for a successful resolution after a car accident.

Call personal injury law firm for your free case evaluation today. The earlier you reach out, the stronger your case may become, assuring you that a skilled professional is managing your case and holding the drunk driver accountable.

Leave a Reply