Maryland Drunk Driving Accident Victims: Don't let the Tables get Turned on You! Why You Need an Experienced Injury Lawyer

By Jeffrey Butschky, Maryland Accident Injury Attorney

You're driving home late from work in Baltimore County, Maryland one evening, thinking about dinner and relaxing with your family. Suddenly, out of nowhere, your car is struck by a drunk driver. Life just got complicated.

Victims of Maryland drunk driver traffic crashes may think their cases are an easy slam dunk. The police, after all, arrived at the crash and apprehended the other driver. They gave him a breathalyzer test, and he was over the Maryland blood-alcohol concentration limit of .08. They documented the scene. The damaged vehicles were hauled away as evidence. You, on the other hand, were brought by ambulance to a Baltimore area hospital and treated for your injuries. Looks like you may be out of work for some time.

Clearly this traffic accident is the other driver's fault, and you're entitled to compensation and damages. It's a simple, open-and-shut case right? Wrong.

A drunk driving car accident case in Maryland can be like a game of high stakes poker, if you don't have an experienced accident injury lawyer representing your best interests. Here's why.

Maryland Criminal and Civil Court Cases: Drunk Driver Accidents and Victims

Drunk driving cases are typically first tried as traffic/criminal matters in the Maryland District Court system. The breathalyzer and/or blood tests from the scene of the accident or hospitalization will be documented and presented by a State’s Attorney.

Typically the presiding Judge will hear testimony from the defendant, where he might tell a sad story about being in treatment, falling off the wagon, having family problems, which ultimately led to consuming too much alcohol, and then getting behind the wheel…and hitting you. There may be an admission of culpability, administrative hearings, and direct testimony -- much of which could result in evidence that can be helpful on the civil side.

Your Maryland drunk driver injury case is heard in the Maryland civil courts. Here's where auto accident victims may underestimate the gravity of the situation. Victims may think that if they have a lawyer for their civil injury claim, they don't need to testify in the criminal proceedings. That's a huge mistake! You and your lawyer want to work with the Md. State's Attorney to make sure that perpetrator gets punished in criminal court, for a bunch of reasons. You don't want them driving drunk again and hurting someone else. That's part of it.

But things can get much, much, much more complicated for you. In drunk driving auto crash cases, it's not above the other side to hire a private eye to look into your records and even follow you around -- yes, YOU, the victim -- to see if you might have been drinking, using prescription medication, driving negligently or recklessly, or allegedly made any sort of minor driving error on the night of the traffic accident.

The defendant's civil and criminal lawyers are fighting for their client's life, to keep him from being convicted, to minimize large monetary verdicts and/or to keep him out of jail.

If you're hurt in a Maryland drunk driving crash, it's imperative you get an experienced injury attorney on your case right away -- before the other side tries to turn the tables on you. A Maryland lawyer who has handled these kinds of cases before knows how to work with attorneys and prosecutors on the criminal side, to make sure your civil case goes smoothly -- and to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation and damages award possible.

Please see my related article on Maryland Auto Accident Liability: Civil Lawsuits vs. Criminal Cases for more information on how traffic accident injury cases play out in court.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Maryland drunk driver motor vehicle accident, please contact us right away for a free consultation. We serve all of Harford County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland, including Baltimore, Hunt Valley, Towson, Essex, and Sparks, Md.

For more information, please visit our Maryland Drunk Driving Accidents blog section.