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DUI Victims' Rights

A person's physical health, mental well being and that of their family can be destroyed by a drunk driver. Even if this driver faces the criminal charge of felony DUI, what are the rights of the victim? A basic tenet of tort law is that a person who has been injured due to the negligent or criminal action of another person has a right to compensation for their injury. While trying to protect their rights DUI victims need to consider two important elements of the DUI tort.

Gather Information

The first element of a DUI tort is whether the driver was actually drunk and thus negligent. While it is a difficult and emotional task, you need to try to remember as much of the actual accident as possible. Since you were obviously shocked, traumatized and possibly unconscious in the course of the accident, how do you know the driver was drunk? It is very unlikely that they staggered over to witnesses and asked for a beer. Did you or anyone else notice them driving erratically prior to the accident? Were the police present at the scene of the accident?

The police should have written a report about the accident and you have a right to obtain a copy of this document from the police station. This report is very important as it contains information about the other driver, insurance, etc.; it will note if the other driver was charged for DUI. Did they take a breathalyzer test or refuse one? Was a blood alcohol test taken and what was the result? The police accident report may also include facts that you had forgotten during your trauma.

Another important element of the DUI tort are the damages or personal injuries the victim sustained. You need to gather information about your personal injury. It is always vital to see a physician as soon as possible after any accident. The hospital reports and the records of the physician will be important in proving the extent of your personal injuries, i.e. damages. You need to note what toll your injuries have taken on your family and also how much time you lost from your job.

Secure Your Rights

A DUI tort victim has the right to payment for medical care and rehabilitation. You also have the right to recover damages for any loss of pay you incurred due to your injuries. Your family has the right to compensation for what is known as "loss of consortium," which is loss of the joy being able to interact with you as they did before the accident. Also, many states have a victims' compensation statute.

You may feel overwhelmed after you have gathered all this information. How do you proceed to secure the compensation that is due you? You should not go through this procedure alone. You should talk to a DUI-victims' rights attorney with experience in DUI victims' cases. This attorney will know your rights and be able to gain you compensation for your personal injuries.

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