As a BC personal injury lawyer that started out my career in criminal defence work I have seen both the civil and criminal consequences of drunk driving. Most people know about the criminal consequences but the civil consequences can be much worse.
If you are convicted of impaired driving, you will lose your license for some time, you will have a criminal record, you may even spend a little time in jail. When all is done you pick your life up and carry on. The civil consequences, on the other hand, are not always so easy to get away from.
Imagine these facts: You drive drunk. You hit another car and are at fault. Both cars are totaled. You are injured. The other driver is injured. What can the civil consequences be?
You will be in breach of your ICBC insurance. ICBC will not cover your medical expenses. ICBC will not pay for your lost wages. ICBC will not fix your car. ICBC pays off the other driver’s vehicle damage claim (let’s say $20,000). The other driver’s injury claim gets settled, lets say for $100,000. Now ICBC will come after you for the extent of the other drivers claims, $120,000 in this example.
Where does this leave you
1. No car (maybe still making car payments on a totaled car)
2. Injuries with mounting medical and rehabilitation debts
3. Lost wages
4. A massive debt to ICBC. Don’t feel like paying? Good luck having your insurance and driver’s license renewed. Thinking of driving on your suspended license? Say hi to your criminal lawyer when he visits you in jail.
The civil consequences can be a lot worse for impaired driving in BC than the criminal consequences. These can include a debt so great that it will take a lifetime to pay off. There are countless sound reasons not to drive drunk and the civil consequences of impaired driving will hit you hardest in pocket book.