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Can You Sue a Drunk Driver in North Carolina?

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  May 6, 2019   |  

Can you sue a drunk driver in North Carolina?  

You may think that a drunk driver’s DWI is handled in criminal court.  However, there are civil remedies against a drunk or impaired driver too for the damages or injuries he causes.

Drunk Driving Deaths in North Carolina StatisticsA car accident carries the possibility of injury or death, and many of these accidents are caused by impaired drivers.  Victims may have the right to sue drunk drivers in North Carolina in order to recover compensation for their injuries.

In North Carolina it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.

Although there have been many public safety campaigns over the years to reduce the rate of drunk driving, many careless people still choose to drive drunk.  According to a report by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV), 368 people were killed in alcohol-related car accidents in North Carolina in 2017.

If you are injured by a drunk driver you may want to pursue civil action against that person for any damages you suffered as a result of the accident.

What are the rules about civil lawsuits against drunk drivers in North Carolina?

When it comes to determining fault after an auto accident, states follow either a no-fault or at-fault policy.  North Carolina is an at-fault insurance state.  This means that in North Carolina, injured people can directly file their claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. 

If you live in North Carolina and have been injured in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, the law allows you to seek compensation for a wide range of injuries and what was taken from you.

In addition to physical injuries, a drunk driving car accident can result in emotional trauma. In North Carolina it is also possible to recover compensation for emotional injuries like PTSD caused by car accidents.

What if Criminal Charges Have Already Been Filed Against the Drunk Driver?

You Can Sue a Drunk Driver in North Carolina Even If Criminal Charges Are Also FiledIn North Carolina, you can file a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver regardless of whether criminal charges are also filed against the drunk driver.

However, keep in mind that drunk driving cases can be complex, and every case is different. That’s why it’s important to contact a knowledgeable North Carolina car accident attorney with years of experience to learn more about your legal options.

Evidence in drunk driving accidents

Evidence in a drunk driving accident is important if you want to sue a drunk driver for damages.

Gene Riddle reminds us:

“Evidence can disappear along with memories that fade with time. This is where we can help because we can immediately investigate the crash, preserve evidence, talk to the investigating officer and witnesses and record their recollection of the facts of the accident.”

If an intoxicated driver is at fault in a car crash, evidence to look for includes:

  1. Police reports of the crash may indicate the other driver is intoxicated
  2. Audio and video evidence from the officer’s body cam and dash cam
  3. Surveillance tapes and videos
  4. Statements from passengers in the car
  5. Witness statements
  6. Accident reconstruction reports from experts
  7. Blood alcohol test results
  8. Insurance information from all passengers and parties involved in the accident

Have you been injured by a drunk driver in North Carolina?

If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, please contact our car accident attorneys at (800) 525-7111 or fill out the form below for a free case evaluation. There are no attorney fees unless we win your case and get you financial compensation for your injuries.

For over 30 years, Riddle & Brantley has been helping those who have been injured due to the negligence of others. With nearly 200 years of combined legal experience, we know what it takes to win you the compensation and justice you need and deserve.

We have convenient locations in Raleigh, Goldsboro, Kinston, and Jacksonville, and are ready to help.