Can You Sue a Drunk Driver for Hitting You in Nevada?

can you sue a drunk driver for hitting you

Being involved in a car accident is stressful and can be life-altering. But when the accident is caused by a drunk driver, it adds an extra layer of complexity and frustration. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Nevada, you might wonder, “Can I sue the drunk driver for hitting me?” The short answer is yes, you can. But let’s delve deeper into what that entails and what your legal options are.

Understanding Drunk Driving Accidents in Nevada

Drunk driving accidents are unfortunately not uncommon in Nevada. Despite laws and campaigns aimed at preventing drunk driving, many individuals still choose to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, putting everyone on the road at risk.

In Nevada, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. This means that if a driver’s BAC is at or above this limit, they are considered legally intoxicated. However, even if a driver’s BAC is below this threshold, they can still be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if their ability to operate a vehicle is impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

What To Do Right After Getting Hit by a Drunk Driver?

After being hit by a drunk driver, it’s important to take certain steps to protect your legal rights and ensure your safety:

  1. Call the Police: Contact law enforcement immediately and report the accident. The police will investigate the scene, gather evidence, and create a report documenting the incident.

  2. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, it’s crucial to see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent but can worsen over time.

  3. Gather Evidence: Take photos of the accident scene, including damage to vehicles and any visible injuries. Get contact information from the other at-fault driver and any witnesses.

  4. Don’t Discuss Fault: Avoid discussing fault or making statements about the accident until you’ve spoken with your attorney.

Injuries from Drunk Driving Accidents in Nevada?

Drunk driving accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to life-threatening conditions. Common injuries include:

  • Whiplash

  • Broken bones

  • Head and brain injuries

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Internal injuries

  • Emotional trauma

Who is liable for this accident?

In Nevada, the drunk driver who caused the accident is typically held liable for damages. However, other parties may also share liability, such as:

  • Bars or restaurants that served alcohol to the driver while they were visibly intoxicated

  • Social hosts who provided alcohol to the driver knowing they would be driving

  • Employers of the driver if the accident occurred during the course of their employment

Is a Drunk Driver Automatically at Fault for an Accident?

While drunk driving is illegal and highly irresponsible, it doesn’t automatically mean the drunk driver is at fault for the accident. Fault is determined based on the specific circumstances of the case. However, driving under the influence significantly increases the likelihood of being found at fault.

Can You Sue a Drunk Driver for Hitting You?

If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Nevada, you have the legal right to sue them for damages. This is because drunk driving is considered a form of negligence. Negligence, in legal terms, refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to others. When a person chooses to drive drunk, they are not exercising reasonable care, making them liable for any damages they cause.

Proving negligence on the part of a driver is crucial in personal injury cases, particularly in situations like drunk driving car accidents. Here’s how you can go about proving driver negligence:

  • Duty of Care: Establish that the driver owed a duty of care to others on the road. In most cases, this duty is simply to operate their vehicle in a safe and responsible manner.

  • Breach of Duty: Show that the driver breached their duty of care. In the case of a drunk driving accident, this breach usually involves impaired driver by alcohol or drugs.

  • Causation: Demonstrate that the driver’s breach of duty directly caused the accident and resulting injuries. This often involves showing that the driver’s impaired state led to reckless or negligent behavior, such as speeding or running a red light.

  • Damages: Prove that the accident caused damages, such as physical injuries, property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

When to Sue a Drunk Driver

You should consider suing a drunk driver if you’ve been injured or incurred expenses as a result of the accident. It’s important to act quickly, as Nevada has a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits.

How Can You Sue a Drunk Driver for Hitting You?

Suing a drunk driver involves several steps, including:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health and safety should be your top priority. Seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal injuries, may not be immediately apparent.

  2. Report the Accident: Contact law enforcement and file a police report. This will document the details of the accident and establish that the other driver was drunk at the time of the crash.

  3. Gather Evidence: Collect as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. Take photos of the vehicles involved, any visible injuries, skid marks, and road conditions. Get contact information from any witnesses.

  4. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer: A skilled personal injury lawyer experienced in drunk driving cases can guide you through the legal process and help you build a strong case.

  5. File a Lawsuit: Your lawyer will help you file a lawsuit against the drunk driver. This involves submitting a complaint to the court outlining the details of the accident and the damages you’ve suffered.

  6. Negotiate a Settlement: In many cases, the drunk driver’s insurance company will offer a settlement to avoid going to trial. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and other damages.

Victim Restitution vs. Civil DUI Lawsuits

It’s important to understand the difference between victim restitution and civil DUI lawsuits. Victim restitution is ordered by the criminal court and is intended to compensate you for your losses as a victim of a crime. However, these payments may not cover all of your expenses, and you have limited control over the process.

On the other hand, civil DUI lawsuits are filed by you against the drunk driver in civil court. This allows you to pursue compensation for your damages independently of any criminal proceedings. A successful civil lawsuit can result in greater compensation and give you more control over the outcome.

How Drunk Driving Accident Settlements Work

Drunk driving accident settlements typically involve negotiations between your lawyer and the drunk driver’s insurance company. The goal is to reach a settlement that fairly compensates you for your damages without the need for a trial.

Once a settlement is reached, you will sign a release of liability, and the insurance company will issue a check for the agreed-upon amount. It’s essential to review any settlement offer carefully and consult with your drunk driving accident lawyer before accepting it to ensure it covers all of your damages.

What Damages Can You Claim?

In a drunk driving accident lawsuit, you can claim various damages, including:

  • Medical expenses

  • Lost wages

  • Pain and suffering

  • Property damage

  • Emotional distress

  • Punitive damages (in cases of extreme negligence)

Why You Need an Attorney

After being hit by a drunk driver, seeking legal representation is crucial to ensure your rights are protected, and you receive the compensation you deserve. Here’s why you need an attorney for your drunk driving accident case:

  1. Legal Knowledge: Personal injury laws, especially those related to drunk driving accidents, can be complex. An experienced attorney specializing in these cases will have in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations specific to Nevada. They can navigate these complexities on your behalf and ensure your case is handled effectively.

  2. Evidence Collection: Building a strong case requires gathering and presenting compelling evidence. An attorney will know what evidence is essential to prove your claim, such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records. They will also have the resources to gather this evidence and present it convincingly in court.

  3. Negotiation Skills: Insurance companies often try to minimize payouts to drunk driving victims. An attorney with negotiation skills can advocate for you during settlement talks to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

  4. Courtroom Experience: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your case may go to trial. An attorney with courtroom experience will represent you effectively, presenting your case to a judge and jury and fighting for your rights. They will ensure that all legal procedures are followed and that your best interests are protected throughout the trial.

  5. Emotional Support: Dealing with the aftermath of a drunk driving accident can be overwhelming. An attorney can provide you with emotional support during this difficult time, guiding you through the legal process and helping you make informed decisions about your case.

can you sue a drunk driver for hitting you

If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver in Nevada, you have legal options available to you. By working with a personal injury lawyer, you can pursue compensation for your losses and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving accident, don’t wait to seek legal help. The Bourassa Law Group, LLC has a team of experienced personal injury lawyers ready to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.


Is a bar liable for a drunk driver in Nevada?

In Nevada, a bar may be held liable for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person who later causes a drunk driving accident under the state’s dram shop laws.

What is the 2-hour rule for DUI in Nevada?

The “2-hour rule” in Nevada allows for a DUI charge if a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit of 0.08% within two hours of driving, even if they were not impaired at the time of driving.

What is the penalty for drunk driving in Nevada?

Penalties for drunk driving in Nevada include fines, license suspension, and possible jail time. The severity of the penalty depends on factors such as prior offenses and BAC level.

What happens if you do a hit-and-run in Nevada?

Hit and run in Nevada is a serious offense. Penalties can include fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment, depending on the extent of the damage and whether there were injuries.

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