Nevada law imposes significant penalties on those who drive drunk, and for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 30 people die every day in the United States in crashes related to drunk driving. Many more than that are injured by drunk drivers every day. The consequences can be devastating for those who are injured and for their families.
Drunk driving is a crime, punishable in Nevada by a jail term of up to 6 months and a fine for first time offenders. Someone who kills another person as a consequence of drunk driving faces significantly harsher penalties. For the victim of a drunk driving crash, a criminal prosecution may offer solace in some regard, but it won’t necessarily pay for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and other damages associated with injuries.
Even if state prosecutors are pressing charges against a drunk driver, an injured victim (or the victim’s family, if the victim has died or is incapacitated) can sue in civil court for financial compensation. Such a lawsuit probably will seek recovery from the drunk driver’s insurance company, but more than likely will also seek to recover additional damages from the driver personally.
A drunk driver can be sued in civil court regardless of whether prosecutors will press charges, and regardless of whether the drunk driver is found guilty. Criminal courts have higher standards for conviction than the standards applied in civil courts for purposes of determining liability. A criminal conviction of a defendant is conclusive evidence of civil liability in Nevada. NRS 41.133. If a defendant has been convicted of a drunk driving offense, the questions in the civil case may turn to the extent of the damages for which the defendant should be held responsible.
For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented Las Vegas clients in auto accident cases. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, please reach out to us today for a free attorney consultation about your options. Call us at 702-388-4476 or send us a request through our site.