Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Drunk driving charges can be critical in car accident cases

We understand that an accident can be physically and emotionally jarring. While you recover from your injuries, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney investigate the cause of the crash. After all, a large majority of accidents arise out of human error, meaning one (or more) drivers were at fault. This is very likely when alcohol is involved.

Indeed, drunk driving charges usually bring about criminal consequences, but in terms of their effect on a traffic collision, there may be civil implications as well. 

Basically, criminal charges are important in car accident cases because of the doctrine of negligence per se. Under this doctrine, the violation of a statute meant to protect a class of people could be viewed as a breach of the duty to use reasonable care. In a drunk driving accident case, the crime (especially the conviction) can be used as evidence that the person who caused the accident failed to use reasonable care while behind the wheel, and that such a failure was the actual and legal cause of the accident.

A criminal conviction can be powerful because of the higher burden of proof necessary in criminal matters. Since it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a person broke the law, it is more than likely that the civil standard of proof (a preponderance of the evidence) will be satisfied.

The likelihood of success for an injured party in a drunk driving accident case is fact dependent, meaning that every case is unique. If you have questions about your rights and options, an experienced personal injury attorney can advise you.  

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Toll Free: 866-466-5789
Phone: 412-567-1232
Fax: 412-391-7453
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