Las Vegas tops the charts for DUI arrests in the United States, averaging 4,311 yearly arrests. Many are never caught until they cause an accident. A third of all car accident fatalities in the nation are caused by drunk drivers, with approximately 10,000 people dying yearly.
Driving drunk not only leads to tragic outcomes for the victims, it can lead to serious criminal charges for the perpetrator (class B felonies punishable by up to decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if you kill or injure someone while driving under the influence).
With so many transportation options available if someone has too much to drink (including cabs, uber cars, designated drivers, or calling a friend or family member for a ride), drunk driving accidents are entirely avoidable. Anyone who climbs behind the wheel of a car while impaired by drugs, alcohol, medication, or other substances does so knowing it is illegal. As such, they are responsible for any injuries or deaths they cause.
If you or a loved one are ever in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should know your rights as the injured party. Victims are allowed to sue the guilty party for the following:
Your medical insurance company won’t want to pay your medical bills if the other driver was negligent, so you will need to file a claim against or sue the at-fault driver to recover your costs. This includes bills extending into the future if it is a long-term recovery or permanent disability.
In addition to the hospital’s bills, medical payments can include your copay, medications, therapeutic equipment, physical therapy, chiropractic care, psychiatric care for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and more.
Whether you were injured or your loved one was, you may spend time in the hospital, at doctor’s visits, in court, and engaged in other activities that eat through your sick pay, vacation time, and hourly wages. As these costs were a direct result of the accident, they are expenses you can claim in your lawsuit.
Lost Ability To Work
If your injuries are severe enough that you cannot return to work or do work you were trained to do, a judge or jury may grant you lost wages. This means that the guilty party will pay you what you would have earned before retirement to support your family.
Pain And Suffering
A victim of an avoidable car crash may suffer losses that are less tangible but no less life-altering. Ongoing physical pain, emotional distress, loss of sleep, depression, grief over a loved one, loss of independence, and other factors will be considered by the judge and jury based on severity and expected duration of the pain and suffering.
Money awarded to you as punitive damages is both a punishment for the driver and a warning to others who would knowingly put others at risk by driving drunk.
An Accident Attorney Near Me
If you’ve been in a drunk driving accident, your best chance of recovering your losses so you can move on with your life is to hire an experienced law firm to represent you. You can find one by searching for “auto accident injury lawyer Las Vegas,” which will pull up lawyers in your area. Or you can click HERE for a free consultation.
An attorney familiar with Nevada’s vehicle codes will be your advocate and walk you through the process. Filing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind while you deal with the immediate aftermath. Still, the sooner you get a personal injury attorney, the faster they can recover the funds you are entitled to to help with physical and financial healing.
What Information Do I Need To Collect At The Scene?
- The license plate number. If you get nothing else, get this! This number will help the police find the driver, even if it is a hit-and-run.
- Driver information, including name, date of birth, and driver’s license number.
- Car insurance information, which can be found on the insurance card. It won’t show the policy limits, but it will show if the policy is in force, give you a number to call to file a claim. It should also show the policy number (which helps identify the driver) and the vehicle ID number. You can use your phone to snap a quick picture of this card.
- Pictures of: both cars (from multiple angles), the scene of the accident (from multiple angles), pertinent features like traffic signs or lights, and any bodily injuries.
- Testimonies from witnesses (or their contact information so that you can get testimonies from them later).
- A written record of everything that transpired. If you are well enough to write down the details of the accident as soon as possible (or make a voice recording of everything that you recall), you can capture important details before you forget them.
Once you get a car accident attorney, all communication should go through them. Don’t sign anything, give recorded statements, or accept a settlement without your lawyer reviewing it, as the insurance company will be looking for any way to use your words against you. Let the lawyer protect your rights while you concentrate on recovering from the effects of the drunk driving crash.