How to Sue a Drunk Driver: A Comprehensive Guide

To sue a drunk driver, you must first file a lawsuit against them in court and gather evidence to support your claim. Car accidents caused by drunk driving can be devastating, resulting in injuries, medical bills, and emotional trauma.

If you’ve been involved in such an accident, you may be able to sue the drunk driver for damages. To do so, you’ll need to file a lawsuit in civil court and gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and help you seek the compensation you deserve. In this article, we’ll explore the steps involved in suing a drunk driver and what to expect along the way.

How to Sue a Drunk Driver: A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding The Legal Process

Suing a drunk driver is a complex and time-consuming process. As an accident victim, the best course of action is to seek the help of an experienced attorney who can assist you in navigating the legal system. In this blog post, we will outline the legal process of suing a drunk driver in detail, focusing on the key initial steps, an overview of personal injury lawsuits, and the importance of hiring an experienced attorney.

Initial Steps After The Accident

The steps you take following a car accident are crucial to the success of any legal action you take.

  • Call emergency services and law enforcement to report the accident and ensure the safety of everyone involved.
  • Document the accident scene by taking photographs of the scene, the cars involved, any injuries sustained, and any other relevant details.
  • Gather contact information for all the parties involved, including witnesses.
  • Seek medical attention immediately and keep a record of all treatment received.
  • Contact your insurance company to inform them of the accident.

Overview Of Personal Injury Lawsuits

A personal injury lawsuit is a legal action taken against an individual or entity for causing harm or injury to another person. In the case of a car accident involving a drunk driver, a personal injury lawsuit would be filed against the drunk driver to seek compensation for any damages and injuries sustained.

  • The lawsuit can be filed by the victim or by a family member of the victim in cases of wrongful death.
  • The lawsuit can seek compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • It is important to establish that the drunk driver was at fault and that their actions led to the accident and resulting injuries.

Importance Of Hiring An Experienced Attorney

Hiring an experienced attorney is crucial in seeking compensation in a drunk driving accident.

  • An experienced attorney can help navigate the complex legal system and ensure that your rights are protected.
  • They can also help gather evidence to prove fault and calculate the value of your damages.
  • They can negotiate with insurance companies and fight for just compensation on your behalf.
  • An attorney can help build a strong case, which is especially important in cases where the drunk driver is contesting fault or when the insurance company is offering an unsatisfactory settlement.

Suing a drunk driver can be a complicated process, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you can navigate the legal system and receive the compensation you deserve. Remember to take immediate action after an accident, understand the basics of personal injury lawsuits, and hire the right attorney for your case.

Gathering Evidence

Gathering Evidence: Evidence Needed To Prove Negligence

In the process of suing a drunk driver, evidence is crucial to prove that the driver was negligent. Gathering evidence is a crucial step to winning a case. However, what type of evidence is needed to prove negligence?

Police Reports

Police reports are vital pieces of evidence when suing a drunk driver. They record the essential details of the accident, including the time, location, and the number of people involved. These reports also usually contain the officer’s opinion on who caused the accident, which can be helpful in determining fault.

It is essential to obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible after the accident.

Witness Testimonies

Witness testimonies are powerful evidence when suing a drunk driver. Witnesses can describe the events leading up to and following the accident. They are especially useful in cases where there is a dispute over who caused the accident. It is crucial to gather the names and contact information of all witnesses.

You can also ask them to give a written statement detailing what they saw.

Medical Records

Medical records are necessary evidence when suing a drunk driver. They can show the extent of your injuries and the treatment received. It is vital to get a complete medical examination of all injuries you sustained as a result of the accident, even if they do not require immediate attention.

Medical bills related to the injuries are also essential to recover your damages.

Gathering evidence is key to suing a drunk driver successfully. Police reports, witness testimony, and medical records are evidence essential to prove negligence. With the right evidence against a drunk driver, you stand a better chance of winning your case and recovering damages.

What Lawyers WON’T tell you about Car Accident Claims (but I will…)

Determining Damages

Suing a drunk driver can be a long and stressful process, but it is important to hold them accountable for their actions. Determining damages is a crucial step in the lawsuit process. Here’s what you need to know about the types of damages available in a drunk driving case.

Types Of Damages Available

There are three main types of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit: medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses are one of the most significant damages in a drunk driving lawsuit. The plaintiff can recover costs for medical treatment related to their injury, including hospitalization, ambulance services, doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, and medication.

Here are some things to keep in mind when calculating medical expenses:

  • Keep a record of all medical bills and receipts.
  • Consult with your attorney to determine which medical costs are compensable.
  • Consider future medical treatment that may be needed, such as ongoing therapy or surgery.

Lost Wages

The plaintiff can recover lost wages due to an injury caused by the drunk driver. Lost wages include more than just the time missed from work. It can also cover reduced earning capacity, any bonuses or promotions that may have been missed, and benefits like health insurance and retirement contributions.

When calculating lost wages, keep these points in mind:

  • Keep track of all time missed from work.
  • Consult with your attorney to determine which wages are compensable.
  • Consider future wages that may be lost due to disability or other lingering effects of the injury.

Pain And Suffering

Pain and suffering damages are awarded for physical and emotional stress caused by an injury. Unlike medical expenses and lost wages, pain and suffering damages are more challenging to calculate because they are subjective and challenging to quantify.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Document the physical and emotional toll of your injury.
  • Work with your attorney to come up with a reasonable amount for your pain and suffering.
  • Pain and suffering damages may be limited in some states, so consult with your attorney for guidance.

Determining damages can be complex, but it’s essential to receive fair compensation for your injury. Working with a skilled attorney who specializes in personal injury lawsuits can help ensure you receive the damages you are entitled to.

Filing A Lawsuit

Filing A Lawsuit: How To Sue A Drunk Driver

If you have been involved in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you have the right to sue that driver for damages. Filing a lawsuit may seem overwhelming at first, but it is a necessary step to get the compensation you deserve.

Choosing A Jurisdiction

When filing a lawsuit against a drunk driver, it is essential to choose the proper court in which to file the suit.

  • The state where the accident occurred
  • The state where the defendant resides
  • The state where the defendant’s vehicle was registered

It is crucial to select the correct court as filing in the wrong jurisdiction can lead to the dismissal of your case.

Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the period during which you must file a lawsuit. In most states, it is two years from the date of the accident. However, this can vary, so it is essential to check your state’s specific rules to avoid missing the filing deadline.

Proper Service Of Process

After filing a lawsuit, the next step is to deliver a copy of the complaint and summons to the defendant. This is known as service of process. It is vital to ensure that the defendant receives the paperwork to avoid dismissing the case.

Written Pleadings

The pleadings are written documents filed with the court to initiate and respond to a lawsuit.

  • Complaint: a document that outlines the legal and factual basis for the lawsuit
  • Answer: a document filed by the defendant responding to the complaint

These pleadings must adhere to the court’s rules and should contain all relevant information required to build a strong case.

Filing a lawsuit against a drunk driver can be complicated, but it is essential to ensure that justice is served and that you receive fair compensation for damages. Follow these key steps to file a lawsuit correctly, and you’ll be on your way to getting the justice you deserve.

Settlement Negotiations

Suing a drunk driver is a complex and often emotional process. However, if you are properly prepared and educated, you can make decisions that will increase your chances of success. One aspect of the process that you’ll need to consider is settlement negotiations.

In this section, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of settling, calculating settlement amounts, and mediation.

Pros And Cons Of Settling

Before deciding whether to settle or go to trial, it’s important to consider both the pros and cons.


  • Settling can be less stressful than going to court, as it does not require a trial.
  • It may take less time to resolve a case through settlement negotiations.
  • You have more control over the outcome of a settlement than you would in court.
  • There are no guarantees of a favorable outcome in court, so settlement can provide a level of certainty.


  • Settling may lead to a lower compensation amount than you would receive in court.
  • The other party may be unwilling to settle, meaning you may be forced to go to court anyway.
  • You may have to compromise on some issues in order to reach a settlement.
  • It can be difficult to accurately gauge the value of your claim without the input of a judge or jury.

Calculating Settlement Amounts

When calculating a settlement amount, there are a number of factors to consider.

  • Medical expenses, both past and future.
  • Lost wages and future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Property damage.
  • Punitive damages in some cases.

It’s important to work with an experienced attorney in order to accurately calculate the value of your claim. Your attorney will be able to negotiate on your behalf and help ensure that your settlement is fair.


Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party works with both sides to reach a settlement agreement. This can be helpful in cases where both sides are motivated to resolve the issue but are having trouble reaching an agreement.

During mediation, each side presents their case to the mediator and the other side. The mediator then works with both sides to identify areas of agreement and disagreement and to find ways to bridge those gaps.

Mediation can be less costly and time-consuming than going to court, and it can result in a settlement that both sides find acceptable. However, it does require both sides to be willing to compromise and work together towards a common goal.

Settlement negotiations are an important part of the process of suing a drunk driver. It’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of settling, work with an experienced attorney to calculate a fair settlement amount, and be open to the possibility of mediation as a way to resolve the case.

By following these guidelines, you can increase your chances of success and achieve the compensation you need to move forward with your life.


Getting into a car accident can be life-changing. It can affect you and your family’s well-being, especially if the accident is caused by a drunk driver. If you have been involved in such an accident, you may want to take legal action.

Suing a drunk driver is easier said than done, but it is possible. One of the stages in the legal process is the trial, which is the focus of this section.

Jury Selection Process

Jury selection is an important part of the trial process.

  • A group of potential jurors is called to the court for selection.
  • The prosecutor and the defense lawyer ask potential jurors questions to determine whether they are suitable to serve on the jury.
  • Each lawyer may excuse a certain number of potential jurors, known as peremptory challenges, without having to give a reason.
  • Once the selection is complete, the chosen jurors are sworn in and the trial begins.

Trial Procedures

Once the jury is selected, the trial begins.

  • The prosecutor presents their case first. This includes calling witnesses, presenting evidence, and making arguments.
  • The defense then presents their case, including calling their own witnesses and presenting evidence.
  • Both parties have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and challenge evidence.
  • Once both sides have presented their cases, the judge gives instructions to the jury, and they deliberate to reach a verdict.

Appeals Process

If the verdict is not in your favor, you may be able to appeal the decision.

  • You have a limited amount of time to file an appeal, usually within 30 days of the trial’s conclusion.
  • An appeal is not a retrial but a review of the trial’s proceedings to determine if there were legal errors that affected the outcome. Appeals can only be granted if an error is found.
  • If the appeal is successful, the case may be retried, or a different decision may be made. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the original verdict will stand.

Suing a drunk driver and going through the trial process can be a daunting experience. But with the right legal representation, you may be able to recover damages and move on with your life. Remember that the jury selection process, trial procedures, and appeals process are all crucial stages that could make a difference in the outcome of your case.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Sue A Drunk Driver


As the victim of a drunk driving accident, you have the right to sue the drunk driver for damages. Remember that the process can be lengthy and complex, and you will need sufficient evidence to support your claims. From seeking medical attention to gathering evidence and hiring an experienced lawyer, taking legal action against a drunk driver requires a lot of work.

However, pursuing a lawsuit can provide you with compensation for the financial and emotional impact of the accident. It can also hold the drunk driver accountable for their negligent actions and help prevent future accidents. By following these steps and seeking professional legal help, you can navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Seek support from family, friends, and legal professionals to help you through this challenging time.

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