Every driver in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada has a duty to exercise
reasonable care in operating his or her vehicle. When they breach that
duty and the breach was the proximate cause of the victim's injuries
resulting in measurable damages, that driver is considered legally negligent.
Although drunk driving that results in an accident is clearly a case of
negligence, proving that negligence is not always a simple matter.
The experienced personal injury attorney will first look to the police
report as a way of determining the grounds for proving negligence. Police
officers on the scene will enter any of the at-fault driver's actions
into the report that they determine are the direct and proximate cause
of the accident. Traffic violations or the reason a driver is arrested
are also listed.
If the driver was arrested at the scene for drunk driving, that will be
in the accident report. Although the arrest of a driver for drunk or impaired
driving that is part of a police report is strong evidence of negligence,
the actual conviction that may follow goes a long way to solidifying that evidence.
This is because Nevada Revised Statutes 41.133 makes drunk driving accident
cases easier to prove in civil court if the defendant has already been
subject to a criminal DUI conviction stemming from the incident. Proving
negligence due to drunk driving can form the basis for imposing civil
liability for the injury. In addition, drunk drivers may also be subject
to “punitive damages” based on Nevada law.
Personal injury attorneys with experience dealing with drunk driving negligence
cases have the investigative skills at their disposal to uncover the facts
of the accident even beyond the police report. This includes investigation
of the accident scene as well as background on the drunk driver in question.
Past convictions for drunk driving or accidents where alcohol were deemed
to be involved can serve to build a stronger case for the victim.
The goal is to uncover the facts that point to negligence by the other
driver so that the attorney can leverage that in proving a pattern of
negligence when it applies. Although every case is different, it is only
with the counsel of a skilled personal injury attorney that a victim of
a drunk driving accident can hope to reach the best outcome that serves
to assist in getting their life back on track.