Every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 39 minutes. In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths — a 14% increase from 2020. These deaths were all preventable.
If you got into one such unfortunate drunk driver accident, it is important to know your rights and legal options.
File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
This involves taking legal action against the drunk driver who caused the accident. To succeed, you need to prove that the driver’s negligence or intoxication was a direct cause of the accident and your injuries.
A personal injury lawsuit typically seeks compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, and any other financial losses directly related to the accident.
Drunk driving is a criminal offense in many jurisdictions. Law enforcement can arrest and charge the drunk driver with crimes such as DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated).
As a victim, you may have the opportunity to participate in these criminal proceedings by providing statements, attending court hearings, and seeking restitution or compensation through the criminal justice system.
You can file a claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company if they have liability insurance. Most states require drivers to have this type of insurance to cover the costs of accidents they cause.
Your attorney can help negotiate with the insurance company to secure a settlement that covers your damages, including medical bills, vehicle repairs, and other losses.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If the drunk driver lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage to compensate you adequately, you can turn to your own insurance policy’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (if you have it). This coverage is designed to protect you in situations where the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
Dram Shop Liability
Some states have “dram shop” laws that hold businesses, such as bars and restaurants, liable for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated individuals who later cause accidents.
If applicable in your state, you might be able to file a claim against the establishment that served alcohol to the drunk driver, seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.
In some cases, additional parties may share liability for the accident. For instance, if the drunk driver was operating a company vehicle at the time of the accident, the employer may be held partly responsible.
Your attorney can assess whether there are other liable parties and include them in your legal action to potentially secure additional compensation.
Negotiation and Settlement
Before going to court, your attorney will often attempt to negotiate a settlement with the drunk driver’s insurance company or other responsible parties. This negotiation process can lead to a quicker resolution without the uncertainties of a trial.
Settlements typically involve an agreement where the responsible party (or their insurer) agrees to pay you a certain amount of money to resolve the case.
In some cases, punitive damages may be available. These are designed to punish the drunk driver and discourage future drunk driving. They are typically awarded in cases of extreme recklessness or malice.
However, punitive damages are not guaranteed in every case and are subject to legal requirements and limitations.
Consult an Attorney
It’s crucial to consult with a personal injury attorney who specializes in drunk driving accident cases. They will evaluate the specific details of your case, explain your rights, and guide you through the legal process to help you pursue the best available legal options. An attorney’s expertise is invaluable in achieving a favorable outcome.
What Should you do Immediately after the Accident?
In the tumultuous moments following a drunk driver accident, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about the necessary steps to take. However, the immediate period following a collision caused by a drunk driver is crucial for ensuring your safety, safeguarding your legal interests, and ultimately, seeking compensation for any injuries or damages incurred. we will walk you through the essential actions to take in the immediate aftermath of a drunk driver accident.
First and foremost, your immediate concern should be safety. After a car accident, check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately to request medical assistance. If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road to prevent further accidents and switch on your hazard lights to increase visibility.
Check on Others
Extend the same level of concern to the occupants of other vehicles involved in the accident. If you find that there are injuries, it is crucial to dial 911 promptly to ensure those in need receive immediate medical attention.
Call the Police
Regardless of how minor or major the accident appears to be, it is a wise decision to contact law enforcement. The police will create an official accident report, which plays a critical role in insurance claims and legal matters.
After ensuring everyone’s safety and notifying the police, exchange essential information with the other driver(s) involved. This includes sharing names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and vehicle information, such as make, model, and license plate numbers. Don’t forget to collect contact information from any witnesses at the scene.
Capture Visual Evidence
Utilize your smartphone or a camera to take photographs of the accident scene, vehicle damage, license plates, and any relevant road signs or environmental conditions. Visual evidence can be instrumental in resolving insurance claims and legal disputes.
Avoid Admitting Fault
Be cautious about making statements that might be interpreted as accepting blame, even if you suspect that you may share responsibility for the accident. It’s essential to stick to presenting the facts when communicating with the other driver, law enforcement, and witnesses.
Cooperate with Law Enforcement
Help the police by providing a truthful and comprehensive account of the accident. Honesty and thoroughness are essential when recounting the events leading up to the collision.
Seek Medical Assessment
Even if your injuries appear minor or nonexistent, it’s prudent to undergo a medical evaluation. Certain injuries may not manifest immediately, and prompt documentation is crucial for insurance and legal purposes.
Report to Your Insurance Provider
Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with basic information about the accident, including the date, time, location, and a general description of what happened.
Maintain organized records of all accident-related paperwork, including medical bills, repair estimates, communications with your insurance company, and any other relevant documentation. Well-documented information is essential for ensuring you receive the appropriate compensation for your losses.
Consult an Attorney if Necessary
If you suspect that you have a potential legal claim against the other driver, such as in cases of clear fault or drunk driving, consider reaching out to a personal injury attorney. They can provide guidance through the legal process, assess the strength of your case, and protect your rights.
Stay in Communication
Keep in contact with your insurance company, healthcare providers, and any attorney you consult with. Ensure that you are actively managing your recovery, claim resolution, and any legal matters related to the accident. Communication is key to a smooth and successful process.
How Much Should you Expect ?
Compensation settlements for injuries caused by drunk drivers often range between $50,000 and $100,000 in the United States. Nevertheless, depending on the severity of the accident and the extent of the victim’s injuries, the actual settlement amounts might range greatly, from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars.
The settlement amount in a drunk driving accident is influenced by many factors. Critical elements include the seriousness of the injuries, the extent of the property damage, the number of participants, and the insurance coverage.
There are ways to maximize your financial recovery from a settlement. The first step is to get in touch with a qualified personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the legal system and make sure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
The depth of your injuries, the amount of property damage, and whether or not the motorist was charged with DUI will all have an impact on how much money you can get from a drunk driving accident settlement.
By examining all potential sources of compensation and pursuing all relevant legal avenues, an expert attorney can assist you in maximizing your potential recovery.
Contact us to get the Best Solution
Before you take any action on your own, it is always a good idea to consult an experienced attorney. this will help you explore the avenues you never knew were useful. an attorney will be of great help in determining the settlement amount, protecting your rights and helping you file a lawsuit if needed.
if you or your loved ones have been a victim to one such unfortunate event, Contact Phillips Law Office today.we are here to support you every step of the way. Our experienced team is dedicated to ensuring that justice is served and you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t let the actions of an intoxicated driver go unpunished. Contact us today to explore your legal options and take a step towards recovery. Your well-being is our priority. Together, we can make a difference