Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers is a prominent personal injury law firm that regularly secures multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts against the largest insurance companies that attempt to cheat victims out of money. Our founder, E. Ryan Bradley, has been practicing law for decades now and has established himself as one of the top personal injury lawyers in Richmond Heights, Missouri.
As your legal representation, it is our mission to ensure that you receive maximum recovery for all of your damages from all available sources. Because of this, Bradley Law regularly wins multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts.
If you were recently involved in a DUI car accident in the area, we can help. Contact us today at (314)-400-0000 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Richmond Heights DUI accident lawyer.
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How Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your DUI Accident Claim in Richmond Heights
At Bradley Law, we put our money where our mouth is, and the world has noticed. We’ve been featured by The Missouri Lawyers’ Weekly for securing numerous settlements and verdicts, including the #1 car accident verdict for the year, the #6 overall verdict, and the #1 car accident settlement.
Only a few years ago, Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers was reported as having the “most reported winning cases” by the same publication.
We aim for the same success with you. Here are some of the things our Richmond Heights car accident attorney can do for you:
- Provide a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case;
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses and calculate a ballpark value for your claim;
- Collect crucial evidence such as police reports, photographs, witness statements, and other relevant evidence;
- Collect and analyze your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries;
- Hire and consult with expert witnesses such as medical expert witnesses and accident reconstruction specialists; and
- Represent you in negotiations with the opposing party (probably an insurance adjuster).
Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers can do all of these things for you and much, much more. Contact our law office in Richmond Heights, MO, today to set up your free case review.
The Difference Between a Civil Lawsuit and a Criminal Charge
A civil lawsuit is an action for monetary damages. Under ordinary circumstances, you cannot go to jail over a civil claim. A court might jail you for contempt of court, however, if you refuse to comply with the opposing party;’ discovery requests, but even this is a rarity.
Most criminal charges, however, do carry the threat of jail or prison time. Missouri can jail you for up to six months for a first offense DUI.
The Burden of Proof
Another difference is the burden of proof. In civil cases, the standard of proof is a “preponderance of the evidence,” which means something like “more likely than not.” If you can prove your claim with at least a 51% likelihood, you win under this standard.
In criminal law, however, the prosecution must prove “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” Theoretically, this is a very difficult standard to meet, although prosecutors meet it every day.
You Can Lose a Criminal Conviction and Still Win a Civil Lawsuit
More specifically, you can win a civil lawsuit over a DUI accident claim even if the defendant is acquitted of DUI in criminal court. The main reason for this is that the burden of proof for DUI (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) is a lot higher than the burden of proof for a personal injury claim (a “preponderance of the evidence.”).
Facts You Have To Prove To Win a DUI Accident Claim in Richmond Heights
To win your claim, you must prove the following elements using the “preponderance of the evidence” standard:
- Duty of care: The defendant owed you a duty of care. The defendant certainly owed you the duty to drive safely and soberly on public roads.
- Breach of duty: How did the accident happen? Did the defendant run a red light? This would be a breach of the defendant’s duty of care.
- Damages: Your damages are your injuries. You must generally prove physical injury, but once you do that, you can collect damages for emotional distress as well.
- Cause in fact: Can you truthfully say, “But for the defendant’s breach of duty, I would not have suffered these injuries”? If you can, then cause in fact is present.
- Proximate cause: Proximate cause is present if, given the defendant’s breach of duty, your injury was a reasonably foreseeable consequence.
You must prove every one of these elements to win. You lose if you fail to prove even one of them.
Negligence Per Se
“Negligence per se” is a shortcut to proving negligence. Normally, proving negligence means proving duty and breach (see above). There is typically a certain amount of judgment involved. Yes, the defendant was following closely behind the plaintiff’s car, but just how close is too close? It would be up to a jury to decide.
In negligence per se, however, violation of a safety statute or regulation is automatic negligence (“negligence per se”) provided certain other conditions are met. DUI, for example, certainly counts as negligence per se. Proving negligence per se, however, doesn’t win your case. To establish the defendant’s liability, you must also prove damages, and you must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the factual and proximate cause of your damages.
Most of the time, auto liability insurance policies will cover DUI accidents. You can expect that the offending driver might have trouble keeping their insurance policy after a DUI accident. At the very least, their premiums will rise. Keep in mind, however, that a very high percentage of DUI offenders are uninsured in the first place.
Courts don’t like to award punitive damages, even to victorious plaintiffs, unless the defendant’s conduct was so outrageous as to shock the conscience. Nevertheless, a court is more likely to award punitive damages in a DUI accident case than it would in an ordinary car accident case. There is no guarantee, however.
Contact a Richmond Heights DUI Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you need a DUI accident lawyer in Richmond Heights, contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers, either online or by calling us at (314) 293-4732. We offer free consultations and no attorney’s fees, ever, unless we win compensation for your case.
Our trusted Richmond Heights DUI lawyer is here to help you every step of the way.