What happens if the driver gets acquitted of a DUI charge? Do you still have the right to file a claim? The short answer is yes, even if there is an acquittal for the DUI, you can still pursue legal action against them for whatever damages they brought on you.
John Foy & Associates has experienced and dedicated lawyers to help you navigate the legal complexities of filing a lawsuit. DUI cases often intertwine with both criminal and civil courts. We can assist you in getting started with your claim, even in the case of an acquittal. We have recovered over one billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients. We are confident we can help you reach a fair settlement as well. Call us today at (404) 400-4000.
Why Do Drunk Drivers Get Acquitted?
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a crime. Anyone caught doing this will get arrested and prosecuted under the law. If they cause an accident while driving under the influence, they are liable for any of the damages that they caused.
Under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §40-6-391, first offense DUIs are misdemeanors. DUIs only become a felony after the fourth instance within ten years. Intoxicated drivers face up to a year in jail time, community service, fines, and mandatory attendance to a DUI alcohol and drug use risk reduction program.
When a driver who committed a DUI gets acquitted, it is usually because it was their first or second time. These drivers typically did one of the following:
- Successfully proved that the breathalyzer test they took was inaccurate.
- Successfully proved that their field sobriety test was not done correctly.
- They decided to plead guilty and got charged with a reduced crime, such as reckless driving.
Once an acquittal happens, many DUI accident victims feel like their case is over, but this is not the truth. Your options still remain the same, even if the at-fault driver has a not guilty verdict.
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Personal Injury Lawsuits Are Civil Cases
The primary reason why your compensation claim is still safe is that your claim will first negotiate out of the courts. You do not need a judge or a jury to settle with the insurance company. However, if the insurance company does not want to settle or compromise, you can escalate your claim to court.
In this case, the acquittal does not apply because that was done in criminal court. Remember that criminal court is vastly different compared to civil court. The standards in criminal court are a lot higher, so do not worry if you feel that your evidence will amount to nothing. Just because the court declared them innocent of their crime does not excuse them from liability. You can still hold them accountable for all of the damages they caused.
The Downsides to an Acquittal
Just because you can still file a lawsuit after an acquittal does not mean that everything will be the same. The insurance company might be bold enough to further resist a settlement because of the acquittal.
In most cases, a conviction of a DUI will work greatly in your favor. A conviction unequivocally proves fault, and in an at-fault state like Georgia, a driver convicted of DUI will likely have no leg to stand on. The insurance company will know this and have no choice but to settle out of court to avoid a losing court battle.
When acquittal for DUI happens, insurance companies see that as an opportunity to fight back. A good lawyer by your side will help you understand all of your legal options and negotiate hard for your best interests.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You File a Claim After an Acquittal
In the U.S., one person dies every 50 minutes due to intoxicated drivers on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). DUIs are a pervasive problem in our society. Even if the driver responsible for your accident gets acquitted, it is still essential to hold them responsible for what happened and show that this negligent behavior is unacceptable.
To prove fault and negligence, we will help you by doing the following:
- Ensure all paperwork gets filed accurately and in accordance with deadlines.
- Consult with experts and witnesses to help establish the culpability of the intoxicated driver.
- Reference police reports and arrest reports.
- Negotiate for a fair settlement without compromise.
- Represent you in court and fight to get all of your damages covered.
Even if the driver got acquitted for a DUI, you still have a case in civil court. While it may be more difficult to pursue your claim depending on the circumstances, that does not mean you should not file a lawsuit. You can trust in us to dedicate ourselves to your case. We will work hard to get you the compensation that you deserve.
File a Lawsuit for Your Accident Today
The lawyers at John Foy & Associates commit themselves to each case they take on. With over 20 years of experience and hundreds of successful cases, we hope to help you get through this challenging time and get compensated for your damages. For a free consultation at no risk and no obligation to you, call us today at (404) 400-4000.