A deadly California accident last year left five dead and six wounded when a motorist slammed his car into a group of motorcycle drivers. The driver of the vehicle, Carlos Ramirez Babadilla, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. In this case and others like it, a driver's blood alcohol content ("BAC") can have vast implications in civil suits brought by injured bikers and the families of those killed.
Possible Personal Injury Claims
Although it is undisputed that Ramirez hit the group of motorcyclists, he may have been forced off the road by another driver who was trying to pass the riders. Even so, if Ramirez's intoxication contributed to the accident, he could bear liability for the resulting injuries and deaths.
Criminal charges and civil claims arising out of the same incident are two distinct and separate types of legal actions. For example, whether or not Ramirez is found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol in criminal court, the parties harmed by his actions can sue in civil court. In a personal injury suit, the burden of proof is lower than in criminal court. So, if the riders sued Ramirez seeking compensatory damages, they would only have to show that more likely than not his negligence caused their losses (the burden in criminal cases, on the other hand, is much higher).
BAC In Civil Court
A driver's level of intoxication, usually measured in terms of BAC, can have significant effects on the success of a personal injury suit. Showing a driver causing injury had a high BAC can be very powerful evidence in convincing a judge or jury of negligence, and thus is often a key factor in civil suits.
If you have been injured on your motorcycle by a drunk driver, or have lost a loved one, contact a personal injury attorney to explore your legal options. Even if the at-fault driver has been penalized criminally, he or she can still be held accountable for the costs of your injuries, including medical bills, property damage, and payment for pain and suffering. Make sure you do not miss out on the compensation you deserve.