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Can You Sue a Drunk Driver in South Carolina if They Were Acquitted of DUI Charges?

February 24, 2021

It’s hard to imagine why anybody would choose to drink and drive in South Carolina. If it’s a matter of them being out and not having a safe ride home, they can order a rideshare from their cell phone. There’s simply no excuse for this sort of behavior. If they get on the road and end up crashing into your vehicle, there’s a good chance you’ll suffer some injuries. Drunk driving accidents tend to be much more dangerous than most other types of crashes. Your South Carolina car accident lawyer will be more than happy to demand compensation for the injuries you sustain in the crash.

One question a lot of accident victims have is what happens if the other driver isn’t convicted of DUI. Does that mean you can’t sue them for damages? The answer is no – you can absolutely still file suit. If the other driver caused the crash, they should be held accountable. If they were convicted, it will make your lawyer’s a lot easier. But that doesn’t mean you can’t win your case without a DUI conviction on the books.

Can You Submit Evidence of the Defendant’s Arrest for Your Car Accident Lawsuit?

If the defendant was convicted of DUI, your South Carolina car accident lawyer will certainly try to present evidence of their conviction in your suit. This documentation can serve as proof that the other driver had breached their duty of care. Since that is one of the requirements for proving your negligence case, it is more than useful. However, just because the defendant was charged with DUI does not necessarily mean they were convicted.

What Happens if the Defendant Was Not Convicted of DUI?

It can be frustrating to learn that the other driver was acquitted of their DUI charges. But that doesn’t mean you can’t file suit. The State has a much higher burden of proof in a criminal case than you do in your civil lawsuit. Just because the defendant wasn’t convicted of DUI doesn’t mean they weren’t drunk. It simply means the prosecutor couldn’t prove that they were above the legal limit at the time of the crash. It could have been a matter of the police conducting an improper search. Or the prosecutor may have agreed to a plea bargain with the defendant. Your South Carolina car accident lawyer can still demand damages for your injuries.

Your South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Will Still Demand Damages

It doesn’t matter whether the other driver was proven drunk or not. If they caused the crash, you’re going to want to demand damages. Your South Carolina car accident lawyer is going to ask for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Since every case is different, there’s no way to know for sure what kind of damages you may be entitled to. Your South Carolina car accident lawyer will know more once they’ve had a chance to review your case.

Reach Out to a Seasoned South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer

If you’re injured by a drunk driver, you’re going to feel an awful lot of things. Obviously, you’re going to be afraid. You need to know that you and your passengers will be okay. You’re also going to be frustrated. It’s hard to believe that people still drink and drive in this day and age. At the end of the day, however, you’re going to be angry. Once you start to feel this anger, you may contact a seasoned South Carolina car accident lawyer. You’re going to want another driver to pay for what they put you and your family through.

One way to do this is to file a car accident lawsuit against the other driver. Whether they were drunk or not, if they caused the crash, you should be entitled to damages. If they were drunk, then it may be a bit easier to prove they were at fault. Your South Carolina car accident lawyer can also demand punitive damages. Whether they are awarded or not depends on your case. However, the best chance to receive the compensation you deserve is to talk to a skilled South Carolina car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Call right away and schedule your free, initial consultation. The other driver is going to have lawyers fighting for them and you should too.