DUI / OVI Accident
When a driver is intoxicated, an accident can sometimes take place. In addition to facing criminal penalties, the intoxicated driver may also face civil liability for any personal injuries or property damage that he or she caused as a result of the crash. If you were recently involved in a drunk driving accident and are facing criminal as well as civil liability, a Cleveland DUI attorney can help you assess your legal options. We work tirelessly to ensure that our clients are treated fairly and are able to fully assert their rights. We proudly serve clients throughout Akron and other areas of Cuyahoga County.DUI / OVI Laws in Ohio
Ohio defines the offense of drunk driving as operating a vehicle while intoxicated, or OVI. To be convicted of a DUI / OVI, the prosecution must prove that you were operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The criminal proceeding against you will be completely different from any lawsuit that someone who was injured in the crash files against you. However, some of the evidence that the police obtain in the criminal investigation such as a police report may be admitted in the civil claim.
A person who is injured in a DUI / OVI accident can file a negligence claim against the person who caused the crash. In this lawsuit, the plaintiff will have to show that the defendant owed him or her a duty of care and failed to operate his or her vehicle according to that duty. In general, drivers have a duty to use the same caution, care, and skill that a reasonably prudent driver would use when faced with the same conditions and circumstances. This standard encompasses things like refraining from distracted driving and paying attention to the road. Because alcohol reduces a driver’s reaction time and motor skills, a reasonable driver does not typically drive under the influence.Assert a Defense to a Civil Claim Against You
Even if the plaintiff can show that you were driving while intoxicated and involved in a DUI / OVI accident, the plaintiff still has other elements to prove before you will be required to pay compensation. After showing that a defendant failed to drive according to the duty care, such as by driving while intoxicated, the plaintiff must show that this failure was the direct and foreseeable cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
Under Ohio’s comparative negligence law, a plaintiff will be denied compensation if he or she is deemed to be 51% or more at fault for the accident. If the defendant can offer evidence showing that the plaintiff was negligent, such as evidence of texting or distracted driving, or that the plaintiff failed to abide by traffic laws, then the plaintiff may be denied compensation. Even if the jury decides that the plaintiff is 50% or less at fault, the court will reduce any award of damages in the plaintiff’s favor by the percentage of fault that the jury assigns to the plaintiff. There may be other supervening causes involved in the crash such as roadway hazards or inclement weather. A seasoned drunk driving defense lawyer can help you ensure that you assert any possible defenses to the case against you.
If the plaintiff is successful in establishing liability in causation, he or she is entitled to a variety of damages, including compensation for past and future estimated medical expenses. The plaintiff can also receive compensation for lost future earning capacity as well as pain and suffering.Speak with a Seasoned DUI / OVI Defense Lawyer in Cleveland
If you are facing liability for a DUI / OVI accident, a knowledgeable Cleveland attorney can help you explore your legal options and rights. We have represented numerous individuals in drunk driving matters, which means we know how stressful and overwhelming the situation can be for you and your family. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation, and provide counsel to clients throughout Parma, Berea, Rocky River, Bedford, Garfield Heights, Stow, and Barberton. Call us at 216-520-5297 or contact us online to set up your appointment now.