Have you been injured in a crash involving a drunk driver? Let the team at Shane Smith Law help.
Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
Fighting for Drunk Driving Accident Victims
No one should drive if they have had too much to drink or are under the influence of drugs. Sadly, too many drivers fail to recognize their level of intoxication and choose to get behind the wheel, leading to devastating, avoidable accidents.
If you were injured in a crash involving a drunk driver, you may be understandably wondering about your legal options. After all, you should not have to cover your medical bills and lost wages when the other driver was clearly responsible for the collision.
Our team at Shane Smith Law can help you exercise your rights and take civil legal action against a negligent drunk driver. With the help of our drunk driving accident lawyers, you may be able to recover compensation for economic and non-economic losses.
We will leverage our robust resources on your behalf throughout the legal process, and our seasoned legal professionals will make every effort to maximize your recovery.
The Difference Between Civil and Criminal Drunk Driving Cases
When someone is arrested for drunk driving, there is a good chance state prosecutors will pursue criminal charges against them, particularly if they fail a breathalyzer test or there is other evidence supporting a potential conviction.
Criminal charges are separate from a civil lawsuit. You have the right to take civil legal action against a drunk driver if you were harmed and the statute of limitations has not expired, regardless of whether criminal charges have been filed. These legal processes and their respective outcomes are considered entirely separate and will be tried in different courts.
What Does DUI Mean?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence.” This can mean driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving while under the influence is a criminal offense in all states.
Common Causes of Drunk Driving Accidents
Intoxication impairs a person’s reaction time and ability to make responsible decisions. Consequently, drunk drivers are generally more likely to drive recklessly, which heightens the probability of a collision.
A drunk driving accident may be caused by a motorist:
- Excessively speeding
- Failing to follow traffic signals
- Changing lanes or turning without signaling
- Swerving or losing control of their vehicle
Common Injuries Caused by Drunk Driving Accidents
When a driver realizes they are hurtling toward a collision, they will typically take steps to course-correct and minimize the severity of the crash. Unfortunately, intoxicated drivers are less likely to realize an accident is imminent, and they are inherently less capable of responding in time. The result is more direct, head-on collisions, which tend to cause far more serious injuries.
A drunk driving accident can lead to many types of severe injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Limb injuries
- Burn injuries
In some tragic cases, a drunk driving accident can result in one or more fatalities. In these instances, the qualifying survivors of the victim can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one against the intoxicated driver.
Types of Damages You Can Recover in a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit
If you wish to recover damages for one or more parties liable for a drunk driving accident, you must initiate legal action before your state’s deadline. Each state has its own statute of limitations for vehicular accidents, including drunk driving accidents. The clock starts ticking as soon as the accident occurs.
Should a drunk driving accident result in a fatality, survivors of the victim will get additional time to take legal action. In either scenario, you cannot recover any damages if you wait too long, so do not wait to get legal advice.
A civil drunk driving accident lawsuit can help you recover compensation for:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Why Shane Smith Law?
In the aftermath of a drunk driving accident, you should be exclusively focused on getting better. Our compassionate team at Shane Smith Law can help you access quality treatment and handle the bulk of the legal legwork required to advance your case.
Our drunk driving accident lawyers are committed to fighting for you and will do everything possible to maximize your recovery. We are experienced advocates who understand how to win these cases.
Contrary to popular belief, a driver who is intoxicated is not automatically at fault for an accident. Keep in mind that they can be arrested for drunk driving after an accident occurs, but that does not necessarily mean they are legally responsible for the crash. For example, if a sober motorist drives negligently and collides with a motorist who happens to be intoxicated but is otherwise following the rules of the road, the sober motorist is likely the one at fault. Though the intoxicated driver might be detained and criminally charged once the police arrive, the sober, at-fault motorist would probably have a hard time recovering civil damages.
To be liable for an accident, the drunk driver’s negligence must cause the crash. A drunk driver is arguably more likely to be negligent in many circumstances due to their impaired judgment, reaction time, and motor controls.
If the drunk motorist was driving erratically, unable to maintain control of their vehicle, or otherwise refused to follow the rules of the road, their behavior is likely to be considered negligent.
In some cases, an intoxicated driver is not the only one liable for a drunk driving accident. Under “dram shop laws,” a bar or restaurant that knowingly overserves someone who is either underage or already intoxicated can be held liable for any injuries the intoxicated person subsequently causes.
Dram shop laws vary by state. Our drunk driving accident attorneys can review the facts of your case and advise whether you may be able to seek damages from a restaurant or bar in addition to the negligent driver.
What Is the Role of an Attorney in a Drunk Driving Accident Lawsuit?
Keep in mind that not all drunk driving accidents will ultimately go to court. Many cases can be resolved through pre-trial negotiation, which saves everyone time, money, and stress. A capable lawyer will always work to secure a favorable and fair resolution as efficiently as possible, which may take the form of negotiating a monetary settlement that covers all damages. If a fair level of compensation cannot be negotiated, your attorney will prepare for trial and advocate for you in court.
An attorney will be able to anticipate and refute allegations that you were partially responsible for the accident, even if the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the collision. In several states, you will be unable to obtain any damages if the court decides you are even the slightest bit at fault. In other states, the compensation you can recover is directly tied to your level of fault, so having a strong legal professional by your side is essential.
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