Drunk driving accidents are different than typical personal injury lawsuits in Boston because the police and prosecutors will be working separately to gather evidence and prove intoxication on behalf of the at-fault driver. In a typical car accident case, where the driver is not suspected of impairment, police may respond to the scene and conduct a cursory evaluation. They will typically write up a brief vehicle crash report and get the parties to exchange contact information and insurance cards, but there will not likely be any follow up investigation, unless there are serious injuries or death.
Drunk driving accident cases more often result in serious injuries and fatalities, and furthermore, driving drunk is a crime. That means police and prosecutors will be more heavily involved, though this won’t have a direct bearing on the civil case.
This additional work done by the police is for the purpose of convicting the defendant in an OUI trial, but it can also be of great help in obtaining a full and appropriate financial settlement from defendant’s insurance company. In some cases, the insurance company will realize there is no point in denying liability. When a defendant is arrested with probable cause for suspicion of drunk driving, insurers are often much quicker to settle. They will offer to pay to fix plaintiff’s vehicle and will make a settlement offer. This does not however, mean that it will be a good settlement offer as the insurance company may still be willing to fight the case on damages. When this happens, the jury is told that defendant was driving drunk and caused the accident, but it is up to them to decide how much money, if any, the defendant should be required to pay the plaintiff. This is known as a fight on damages only civil case and they are quite common in drunk driving injury cases.