Can you sue a drunk driver if the state prosecuted them?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2022 | Drunk Driving Accidents |

Personal injury laws help protect members of the public from massive losses. If someone else does something negligent or illegal, they open themselves up to lawsuits by anyone affected by their bad decisions or misconduct.

Under Colorado personal injury law, those hurt by a drunk driver could potentially file a civil lawsuit. Someone who survived the crash can seek compensation for their lost earning potential and hospital bills. Those who lose a loved one in a drunk driving crash could file a wrongful death claim.

Do you still have the option of going to civil court if the state has prosecuted the drunk driver?

Criminal prosecution does not affect your right to a civil suit

The average person can be confused by the nuances of different areas of law. For example, you may have heard of the legal term Double Jeopardy. This is a crucial federal protection that prevents the government from prosecuting you twice for the same alleged criminal offense.

Double jeopardy rules only protect someone from government prosecution, not civil litigation. Those hurt by a drunk driver can still take that driver to court even if the state has already prosecuted that driver and sentenced them to incarceration. In fact, a drunk driving conviction could potentially strengthen your case in court, as it would provide evidence of misconduct directly related to the losses you or your family suffered.

Securing financial justice from a drunk driver in addition to any criminal consequences that the state has imposed on that person can help reimburse you for the impact of the wreck. Learning more about the rules and limitations that apply to personal injury claims can help your family demand justice if drunk driving has impacted your life.