Do You Need a Lawyer When Injured by a Drunk Driver?
Drunk driving crashes occur when intoxicated drivers have gone above the legal limit in alcohol consumption and have caused damage to motor vehicles and other property or injury to others while driving. If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving collision, it can be a long and frustrating process to seek compensation for your losses.
Here are reasons why you should hire a law firm with experienced attorneys, especially if you have been the victim of a drunk driving accident. At the very least, even a free consultation can prevent so much regret later on down the line in a drunk driving accident case.
You Swerved to Avoid an Accident
If you were swerving to avoid an accident, it’s likely that the driver of the other vehicle was speeding or driving recklessly. In this case, he or she may be held liable for your injuries even if you did not have a green light.
If the drunk driver is at fault for their reckless driving that led to the accident and your injuries, they could be held responsible for damages like medical bills, lost wages, and punitive damages. A DUI accident lawyer can help you determine who is at fault based on evidence from police reports and witness statements.
Your Injuries Were Serious
Injuries that require hospitalization or surgery are considered “serious” by most states. The length of your hospital stay will also be considered in determining whether your injuries were serious, and how much compensation you may be entitled to receive. In some states, the definition of “serious” is based on both duration and payment: for example, if a patient spends more than two weeks in the hospital recovering from their injuries after treatment by medical staff (and an associated bill), then those injuries would likely fall under this category.
In addition to medical costs incurred as a result of auto accident injuries, other common types of financial compensation include:
- lost wages during recovery
- future earning potential
- property damage caused by the car accident (such as loss of use)
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- punitive damages
- permanent disability
- loss of consortium (lost enjoyment from spending time with family members who do not suffer from injuries)
- legal fees associated with bringing this to court
Keep in mind that the definition of “Serious” Injury varies by state
Because each state has its own rules regarding what constitutes legitimate claims for damages following a motor vehicle accident injury claim, it’s best to consult with a DUI accident attorney before pursuing any legal action against someone who could have been drunk driving causing your car crash.
There are many other reasons why you should consider working with an attorney on your DUI accident case or personal injury case. For example, some states have what’s known as a “no pay, no play” law that could prevent you from recovering damages unless you suffered “serious” injuries.
In these cases, the law will typically define a “serious” injury as those that requires hospitalization or a prolonged period of time off work. In other states like California, however, the “modified comparative fault” rule means that you can recover damages even if you were partially to blame for causing your own personal injury—as long as it was less than 50% responsible.
For fatal car accidents, there is much more to look at, including filing a wrongful death claim. Criminal charges are imminent in this situation, as well, and if the death was a result of an intoxicated driver, you may want to ensure a drunk driving conviction.
The Drunk Driver Was Uninsured or Underinsured
You should also be aware that the impaired driver may not have insurance or only have a very limited policy that does not cover your personal injury. The drunk driver may not be the only person responsible for your injuries or those of other injured victims. You will need to prove that you were injured, how much it cost you, and how long it will take before you can return to work.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to know your rights and options. If you are in contact with the other driver’s insurance company, be careful as well as cautious about what information or statements they may ask for from you. Their goal is not only to pay out as little money as possible on claims but also to avoid paying anything at all by claiming that someone else caused your injury—even though they were driving under the influence.
Your Car Is Damaged Beyond Repair
Motor vehicle accidents almost always cause damage to your vehicle. If your car is substantially damaged, you’ll need to replace it. If you don’t have the money to do that, you may be able to recover those costs from the drunk driver’s insurance company.
In some cases, though not all, an insurer will cover all or nearly all of the damage caused by a careless driver. If this happens and your car can be repaired at little cost or if you already have another vehicle that can be used in place of your damaged one until yours is repaired, then it might not make sense for you to sue an uninsured or underinsured drunk driver for compensation.
On the other hand, if there are significant inconveniences associated with being without transportation, then consulting with an attorney about recovering compensation for these damages may well make sense. This could be due to being unable to drive your motor vehicle either directly from being injured in the car crash or indirectly by using alternative transportation options such as public transportation that are logistically difficult (e.g., because it involves walking long distances).
It is important to realize that there are some damages that you can recover from an uninsured or underinsured drunk driver that no insurance will ever pay for. These include pain, lost enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. If you have been seriously injured by a drunk driver and these kinds of damages are substantial, then one way to maximize your chances of recovering compensation for them would be to file suit against the at-fault driver.
You Don’t Have Health Insurance
If you were injured in an accident and don’t have health insurance to cover your medical expenses, that cost will be on you. You may also need to pay for car repairs, wages lost from missing work, and pain and suffering if the personal injury has caused any physical trauma. If you were not at fault for the accident, but it was still caused by someone else’s negligence (like intoxicated driving), then this can lead to a lawsuit which means even more expenses down the line.
In order to sue someone successfully, you need evidence that they were at fault or negligent in some way—such as having an over-the-limit blood alcohol content while driving and being the cause of a car crash that injured victims. Once this happens, insurance companies will try to make it seem like they’re innocent so they don’t have to pay out from their policyholder’s coverage levels.
The best way around this is by hiring legal representation by accident lawyers who know how these cases work—and how best practices apply when defending yourself against a large corporation. You need someone who will have your best interest in mind instead of their pockets.
The best way to find out if you can get compensation for your injuries is by doing research on your own online or talking with someone who specializes in this area such as a DUI accident lawyer. Most people don’t have access to these resources, which means they end up paying more than they should.
Negligence law and dram shop liability laws vary by state.
In the United States, dram shop liability laws vary by state. In some states, it is possible to win a drunk driving lawsuit even if the driver was not intoxicated at the time of the accident. This is because these states have dram shop liability laws. Dram shop liability means that an establishment that serves alcohol can be held responsible for injuries caused by a drunk driver who was drinking in their bar.
In other states, it is extremely difficult to win a drunk driving or DUI lawsuit against an individual who was not intoxicated at all when they drove their car and it resulted in accident victims. These are called ‘no-dram’ or ‘social host’ states because they have no law against being served alcohol at someone else’s home or business (as long as you are over 21 years old).[
If you were injured by a drunk driver, you may be wondering if it is worth pursuing legal action. When a drunk driver injures someone in an accident, there are usually two types of laws that may apply: negligence law and dram shop liability laws. Negligence law is the same across all states in this country. Negligence is when someone acts carelessly or recklessly, and this carelessness or recklessness results in injured victims.
Understanding Your Options to Sue
The first thing to do is discuss any potential legal options with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A good lawyer will know the laws in your state and can help you understand what compensation may be available. In some cases, such as when the drunk driver was driving on a suspended license or had no insurance, their driver’s license may have been revoked. If so, they would be unable to get behind the wheel again until they went through rehab and completed all requirements set out by their state.
In many states, the bar or restaurant that served alcoholic beverages can be sued if they served alcohol to an already intoxicated person. Under these circumstances, you might not only recover damages for your own injuries but also those sustained by other people injured in the accident caused by drunk drivers (such as passengers) who were forced off the road into another lane of traffic instead of having control over their vehicles because they were intoxicated at fault.
If you were injured in a DUI accident with a drunk driver, the following might be possible:
- You can get compensation if you suffered injuries.
- You can get compensation for your current or future medical expenses.
- You can get compensation for your wages lost due to the accident.
- You can get compensation for your pain and suffering.
- You may seek punitive damages.
Getting a free consultation with experienced DUI accident lawyers can help figure out what you can be compensated for.
Receiving the Best Possible Compensation
Once you have an idea of what happened and who is responsible, it’s time to consider how much compensation you might be entitled to. You should also talk with an attorney about whether or not your case is worth taking to court.
One thing that people always ask is if they can come back later and ask for more money after settlement negotiations are completed. The answer is no: once a settlement has been reached, there’s no way for either party to reopen negotiations unless there are new major developments in the case that weren’t available at the time of settlement (like evidence of impaired drivers being drunker behind the wheel than originally claimed or repeat offenders of driving under the influence).
To settle or not to settle?
The other thing we hear a lot about is how quickly drivers’ insurance companies offer settlements when they know there have been injuries involved in car accidents or motorcycle accidents caused by their insured drivers—especially when those accidents involve uninsured drivers. It doesn’t take long before the insurance company knows exactly what kind of compensation their policyholder should pay out and start offering lowball offers right away while threatening lawsuits if those aren’t accepted within days (or even hours).
If this happens to you or someone close to you after being injured by an uninsured driver, don’t hesitate: Call a DUI accident attorney right away so they can help negotiate a proper settlement amount based on actual damages instead of whatever number happens into their heads first!
An attorney can help you figure out what your rights are and how to proceed with the case. It’s important not to sign any forms from the insurance company before speaking with a lawyer first—even if they seem like simple requests for information or other small details. Insurance companies aren’t known for being fair, so if you’re confused about what’s going on, it’s easy to make mistakes that could hurt your chances of getting compensation for injuries caused by an uninsured driver.
Preventing a Case Dismissal
If your injuries are serious, or if you have suffered property damage, it is often in your best interest to retain an experienced personal injury lawyer to help protect your legal rights.
Without an attorney, a case can be dismissed for numerous reasons. For example, if the other side claims that the BAC (known as blood alcohol content or blood alcohol concentration) or blood alcohol level was not actually over the legal limit, then they may argue that the car wreck and any injuries sustained are no fault of theirs, and therefore should not be facing criminal charges.
Drunk driving accident attorneys can prevent this easily, but trying to fight a personal injury case like this on your own can be almost impossible.
Do not speak to the other side’s insurance company.
If the driver is drunk and has caused an accident that injures you or someone else, don’t talk to their insurance company yourself. That can be a big mistake. You should speak with a lawyer who knows how to handle these situations. The lawyer will investigate your case, determine the value of your claim, negotiate on your behalf and represent you in court if necessary.
You need to seek medical attention if you are hurt in any type of accident; otherwise, it may affect the outcome of any claims against the other party’s insurance company for injuries suffered as a result of their negligence or misconduct (such as driving while intoxicated). If possible ask someone else besides yourself (or someone who was not involved) because this person can provide unbiased information about what happened after the fact without being influenced by anyone else involved.
While we’re on this topic of insurance companies, it’s important for you to seek medical attention immediately after your accident. Most times, we don’t feel pain right after an accident. You may be inclined to refuse to go with the ambulance, reassuring them that you are okay. Accident lawyers advise never to do that. Insurance companies can deny any claims that come after the fact if you refuse the ambulance, stating that the injuries sustained were caused by something entirely different after the actual accident.
Talk to a lawyer about what happened, who is responsible, and how much compensation you might be entitled to.
They know the law.
A lawyer can help you determine if you have grounds for suing the person who hit your car or truck. If so, they can also discuss the best way of seeking financial compensation from them based on your specific injuries and damages caused by the accident.
Your options for suing may depend on whether or not there was an accident report filed at the scene of impact by law enforcement officers (you should file this report yourself if necessary). If there was no police report filed at all — as happens often with DUI accidents — then it will be more difficult to sue because there may not be any evidence of negligence on behalf of the other driver in court proceedings later down the road. Whether or not an official police report exists, however, it’s still worth speaking with an attorney so that he or she can advise how best to proceed given these circumstances.
They know your options.
Talking with a lawyer about your case will give you options to discuss and decide which one is best for you. You may be entitled to compensation from the person who hit you if they were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If this was not a factor in causing the accident but instead due solely to negligence on their part, then there may also be grounds for seeking compensation through another avenue, as well (such as a personal injury lawsuit).
Lawyers are experts at navigating these types of situations so it’s important that in-person meetings take place before any decisions are made regarding legal representation.
It’s important to understand the legal process and the different options you have when it comes to dealing with drunk driving accident cases. While you may want to handle everything yourself, it’s possible that hiring a lawyer will be best for your case. There are many reasons why this might be the case, including:
The amount of time needed to work through your injuries and pursue compensation from an insurance company or other liability-carrying party (i.e., someone who was at fault in causing the accident);
The difficulty in getting information about what happened out of police officers and witnesses; and
The complexity of medical bills, insurance claims, and other legal matters related to your case.
Also, the more time that passes between an accident and when a case is filed with the civil court, the harder it will be to collect evidence and prove liability. If the statute of limitations expires before filing a claim, then your case could be dismissed by a judge because there was no valid reason for filing after so many months had passed.
Takeaway: Hiring a legal team may make sense if you want some help navigating your injury case or if the damages are high enough that hiring one is worth it financially—but don’t let anyone pressure you into doing so before exploring other options first! All drunk driving accident victims should look for a law firm that has drunk driving accident attorneys experienced in defending accident victims in personal injury cases, that can offer a free consultation or free case evaluation and that does well at building that attorney-client relationship.