I was hit by a drunk driver. Totaled my car. I have limited tort ins in pa and was told if he gets convicted, my insurance would kick into full tort and I could get pain and suffering. The driver drove away from the scene and I was told by his insurance that he is planning on fighting the dui charges. His preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday, and it is about 4 hrs away from my home. His DUI was over .16. He also got other charges for fleeing. I am concerned the charges will be dropped. Should I be at the preliminary to help prevent that?
If you were injured you should contact a personal injury attorney and try and go to the hearing or at least ask for a continuance so you can be prepared to give a victim statement.
DISCLAIMER: Matthew Solomon is licensed to practice law in both the State of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey.This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. This answer does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.
Best to have qualified legal representation; if possible. Good luck.
Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff
You should also contact the district attorney's office before the hearing and speak to the assistant DA on the case about the accident, your injuries and your interest in getting him convicted. You should also hire a PI attorney to sue the driver
I agree with all the other answers. Contact the DA on the case and go to the hearing
This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. To get legal advice, consult an attorney in your local area or the area where the issue is located. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response is based on the limited facts provided, and without any independent investigation of the author. Given additional or different facts, the response would likely change. The attorney providing this response is only licensed in Pennsylvania, and you should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction if it is outside Pennsylvania.
I do recommend that you attend the preliminary hearing, but with the attorney who is representing you in your injury case.
Talk to the prosecutor in the county he was charged. If you are that concerned it may be dropped or reduced, personally appear to voice your concerns or retain a lawyer to speak on your behalf.
Attorneys Solomon and Zhou gave you great advice, follow it. Good luck.
Advice given in this forum does not create an attorney - client relationship. No advice should be relied on without consulting with a local attorney.
Call the D.A.'s office and tell them you are willing to testify. They will probably want you at the hearing. Try not to worry about the outcome of that. The DUI driver's insurance should pay for your total loss and you should take care of that asap to avoid his insurance company arguing with you about vehicle storage fees and rental car bills. Seek medical care immediately if you are injured-all of your injuries need to be documented by medical records. Don't speak to the defendant's insurance adjuster about anything other than the disposition of the total loss (NOT your injuries). Consult with an EXPERIENCED personal injury lawyer immediately.
Legal disclaimer: The statement above provided by Sandra Worthington, Esq. is general information and not intended to be a legal opinion because not all the facts are provided. The person requesting information and all others reading the answer should retain an attorney who is permitted by the state bar within the jurisdiction who can examine the complete facts and provide a legal opinion on your case. All information provided in the above answer and other information provided by Sandra Worthington, Esq. and Worthington Law Group does not create an attorney/client relationship within any state or under Federal law.
There's a .001 % chance this is dismissed by the MDJ. It just doesn't happen. But if you'd like to attend you are free to do so.
More importantly you need a personal injury attorney now to guide you. A personal injury attorney will get you far more money even with their contingent fee than you can get going it alone. Contact one of us with no obligation, instead of a big firm where you'll just be a case number, today. Having worked in Philadelphia for years (and still doing work there) you want someone who knows the system. Good luck
Much would depend upon the severity of your injuries, but I agree with the advice to contact a local attorney, discuss the case with the DA in advance of the hearing and to make yourself available to testify.
He doesn't need to be convicted of a DUI for you to be full tort. His insurance is trying to avoid their liability. In any event, for full tort to be relevant you must have bodily injuries. It doesn't refer to the car damages. You should definitely contact the DA's office if you want to testify. Please note that in PA, being intoxicated does not prove fault per se - you still have to show that the collision was the drunk driver's fault. More likely than not, this will not be difficult especially since he fled the scene and was charged with the crime. You should also know that if his insurance company is trying to avoid liability when it clearly exists or they try to minimize your injuries in terms of adequate monetary compensation, you could file a bad faith claim against them. Finally, if you have UM/UIM coverage, your insurance carrier might pay additional damages to you, depending on your policy and the drunk driver's limit. You need to speak with an attorney immediately if you have not done so already. Consultations are free. Hope this helps.
Irena Shiloh, Esquire
If he drove away from the scene, what were the circumstances of his arrest? How did the police catch him? If you saw him after the accident, and if you are able to testify that he appeared intoxicated, then you are a crucial witness for a conviction for drunk driving. Your testimony may not be needed, but it could help.
Do you know if he is charged with DUI under Section 3802(a)(1) or 3802(a)(2)?
§ 3802(a)(1) DUI -- An individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the individual is rendered incapable of safely driving, operating or being in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.
§ 3802(a)(2) DUI -- An individual may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the alcohol concentration in the individual's blood or breath is at least 0.08 percent but less than 0.10 percent within two hours after the individual has driven, operated or been in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle.
Where a motorist is charged only with a violation of §3802(a)(2), the Commonwealth may not utilize evidence of impairment, such as slurred speech or blood shot eyes, to supplement the BAC test results in proving his guilt. Admissible evidence in a prosecution for violation of §3802(a)(2) must be directed to the issue of whether or not the motorist possessed a BAC of 0.08 percent or greater, measured within two hours after the motorist was driving.
Where a motorist is charged with a violation of §3802(a)(1), there is no restraint upon the Commonwealth in the manner in which it may prove that an accused was intoxicated to a degree that rendered him incapable of safe driving. Any evidence that is relevant to prove impairment is admissible in such a prosecution. Any evidence of intoxication (i.e. that the driver was confused, staggering, slurring his speech, could not maintain his balance, etc) is admissible. Intoxication is a matter of common observation and lay persons are permitted to tender their opinion on the issue. A police officer may utilize both his experience and personal observations to render an opinion as to whether a person is intoxicated.
If the defendant has been charged with violating both §3802(a)(1) and §3802(a)(2), then the Commonwealth may introduce evidence that might not be admissible if the defendant were charged under only one section. Evidence of “bloodshot eyes, stuporous conduct, unsteady posture and an odor of alcohol was relevant and admissible ... with respect to the charge against the appellant that he violated [§3802(a)(1)] by driving under the influence of alcohol” even though the appellant was also on trial for violating subsection (a)(2).
Therefore, if you are able to supply any of that evidence, you should let the DA know and you can be a valuable witness in the prosecution of the defendant.
You are also interested in seeing him convicted for leaving the scene of the crash, as that might also be helpful to you in your claim for personal injuries from crash. While that conduct did not cause the crash, I was able to use such evidence effectively in a claim to prove that the driver's conduct in leaving the scene enhanced the injuries to my client.
Was the driver also charged with Reckless Driving? Recklessness exposes the defendant to a claim of punitive damages, as courts have held that assessment of punitive damages is proper when a person's actions are of such an outrageous nature as to demonstrate intentional, willful, wanton or reckless conduct.
I really hope you are consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. I strongly encourage you to contact one who is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice - the statewide organization of trial lawyers who represent injured victims such as yourself. And by all means, go see your doctor if you are injured.
Legal disclaimer: The comments above by Dale Larrimore, Esq. are provided as general information and not as a legal opinion or legal advice, because all facts are not available. The person requesting information and all others reading the answer should retain an attorney in your state who can examine the complete facts and provide a legal opinion on your case. All information provided in the above answer and other information provided by Dale Larrimore, Esq., of Larrimore & Farnish, LLP, does not create an attorney/client relationship within any state or under Federal law.
The State does not taking Drinking and Driving lightly and does not usually just drop charges, especially when someone is more than twice the legal limit. I think it is unlikely any charges will be dropped. However contacting the District Attorney is good advice. You will very likely be full tort. You should get necessary medical treatment so that your injuries can be documented. You should consult a lawyer who handles car accidents and DUI cases.
Most prosecutors have you fill out a victim's impact statement. Others allow you to be put on telephone standby as a witness; this is not needed for preliminary hearing. Get a Personal Injury attorney to represent you in the civil case and he can deal with monitoring the criminal case.
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