In the U.S., April has been designated as Alcohol Awareness Month in an effort to spread the word about strategies for preventing alcohol misuse or abuse. Among the most tragic byproducts of alcohol are drunk driving crashes. According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, almost 30 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving crashes per day—that’s one person every 48 minutes.
If you are hit by a drunk driver, your life could turn upside down in a moment. You could face injuries and overwhelming medical bills, not to mention vehicle repair or replacement costs. If you are unable to work due to your injuries, you could lose wages and even potential earning power if your physical impairments keep you from returning to work in the same capacity.
With so much at stake, it’s important that you know the right way to proceed in the wake of a drunk driving crash. Here are some answers to key questions about alcohol-related crashes.
Do I file a civil or criminal lawsuit?
The only way to get compensation for medical bills, property damages, lost wages, and pain and suffering is to file a civil lawsuit. Criminal charges can be filed separately, but they will not restore your damages. Rather, they will seek to punish the driver for their actions and deter them from hurting others in the future. Criminal charges can be filed even if no one was injured.
Do I need a personal injury attorney?
Though you may be new to the laws governing drunk driving accidents, an experienced auto accident injury lawyer will have years of experience with them. They can help you understand the full scope of the rights and awards that you are entitled to. In addition, your attorney can keep the defendant’s insurance company from trying to take advantage of you. The top focus of every insurance company is their own bottom line, and they will do what it takes to minimize your damages. A skilled attorney will not be duped by their tactics. They will fight on your behalf and help you get the maximum compensation for your losses.
Could additional parties be liable for my accident?
The drunk driver is the obvious party at fault, but others may share in the liability. For example, if the driver was underage and a restaurant or bar knowingly served him or her alcohol, you could file charges against the restaurant. If the defendant was a commercial driver, the company they work for may bear some of the fault. A personal injury attorney can help you file claims against all negligent parties.
What if my loved one was killed by a drunk driver?
If you are a surviving relative or appointed representative of someone who was killed by a drunk driver, you can file a civil lawsuit for wrongful death. This lawsuit can help you recover any medical costs that accrued prior to your loved one’s death. It can also help cover funeral expenses, loss of economic support, loss of consortium (relationship), and pain and suffering.
We encourage all of our readers to avoid driving after consuming alcohol. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, call us immediately for help filing a claim and recovering your damages.
Drunk driving is one of the common causes of road accidents. It affects not just the driver himself but also the person he hits accidentally. If this happens to you, file for a personal injury claim. However, you need to know what you should do first so that you can get a claim. There are questions you need to ask yourself first before going to a personal injury attorney. These questions are found in this infographic.