Civil Liability for DWI Offenses

DWIs are inherently criminal offenses that may result in penalties such as:

  • License suspension or revocation
  • Monetary fines
  • Community service
  • Alcohol education programs
  • Installment of ignition interlock devices
  • Probation
  • Jail time

DWI-Related Accidents

If a DWI results in a subsequent automobile accident, the offender may face more severe charges such as:

  • Reckless driving
  • Intoxication assault
  • Intoxication manslaughter
  • Reckless endangerment

All of these charges result in more severe penalties such as increased fines and jail time.

In addition to facing criminal penalties, a DWI offender whose conduct causes a DWI-related accident may also face civil liability by any persons harmed in the accident.

Civil Liability of DWI-Related Accidents

An individual who operates a motor vehicle while intoxicated in a public place and causes an accident may face civil liability if the accident results in:

  • Physical or emotional harm to the driver and passengers of the other vehicle(s)
  • Death of the driver and passengers of the other vehicle(s)
  • Damage to the other vehicle involved in the accident
  • Physical or emotional harm to pedestrians affected by the accident
  • Death of pedestrians affected by the accident

Economic Damages

A DWI offender may be liable for any economic damages suffered by other persons involved with and harmed by the accident. Economic damages include:

  • Monetary loss as a result of the accident
  • Expenses incurred as a result of the accident
  • Loss of compensation

Monetary loss may involve the loss in value of the vehicle or possessions involved in the accident. Expenses incurred include medical services resulting from any harm from the accident or costs of repair of the vehicle. Loss of compensation means that the other persons harmed in the accident are unable to resume normal employment following the accident and are therefore unable to receive compensation.

Non-economic Damages

The driver in the DWI accident may also be liable for non-economic damages suffered by the other persons involved in the accident. Non-economic damages include covering physical pain and suffering and the inability to resume normal life pleasures

Physical pain and suffering involves payment to compensate the injured persons for the pain and physical difficulties they have endured as a result of the accident. The inability to resume normal life pleasures means that the accident caused by the DWI offender caused some sort of harm to the other person that has prevented him or her from enjoying the normal hobbies and activities in their life. Through civil liability, the DWI offender can be held liable for such obstruction.

Survival Claims

In the event that the person harmed in the accident suffers death or life debilitating injuries, the spouses or children of the harmed person may also seek action against the DWI offender. Survival claims may be brought to compensate for the inability of the harmed person to be able to provide:

  • Financial support
  • Moral support
  • Services
  • Sexual relations
  • Spousal companionship
  • Damages to compensate for past and future loss

If you have been charged with a DWI that resulted in a subsequent car accident, you may face both severe criminal charges and civil liability. Involvement in both criminal and civil actions is costly, stressful, and may jeopardize your own future if not properly resolved. It is important to seek a strong legal defense team that is experienced in DWI-related offenses. The DWI Trial Attorneys at the Wilder Defense Firm are experts in DWI offenses and are ready to challenge any liability you my face confidently, due to their proven track record of success. Contact the firm today to schedule your free consultation.