Anti-drunk driving public service campaigns and announcements have blanketed the airwaves for decades, making it next to impossible for intoxicated drivers to be ignorant of the potential consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, despite the risk of serious accidents, injuries, and deaths—both to themselves and others—far too many drivers choose to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, according to the Kentucky State Police (KSP), alcohol is a factor in thousands of accidents each year. These accidents cause thousands of injuries and more than 100 deaths.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime that endangers everyone on the road, and motorists who choose to engage in this hazardous and unlawful behavior may be prosecuted through the state's criminal justice system. Fortunately, Kentucky law also allows DUI victims to hold drunk drivers financially accountable for their actions by filing a personal injury lawsuit in the civil court system. This makes it possible for DUI victims to seek a wide range of accident-related damages.
If you were hurt in an accident caused by a drunk driver, it's important to understand your legal rights and options. Here's what you need to know if you're planning to take legal action for injuries and losses sustained in a drink driving accident.
Evidence Can Help DUI Victims Build a Strong Personal Injury Case
Many DUI victims assume that, considering one of the involved parties was intoxicated, gathering evidence to strengthen their case really isn't necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth! Evidence can lend a credible personal injury claim even more credence and increase a victim's chances of receiving the compensation they need and deserve. After a drunk driving-related accidents, DUI victims and their attorney should gather the following evidence:
- Police accident report
- Results of the defendant's BAC test results
- Photos and video of the accident scene, property damage, and injuries
- Contact information and statements from people who witnessed the accident
- Video from the responding officers' body and dash cameras
- Video of the defendant's Breathalyzer test
- Social media posts or cell phone records detailing the defendant's activities just before the accident
- Medical records
- Accident-related medical bills
- Property damage repair or replacement estimates or invoices
- Pay stubs, wages statements, statements from your employer, or other proof of accident-related lost wages
Potentially Liable Parties
The drunk driver may not be the only person who can be held responsible for drunk driving accidents, injuries and other losses. Other potentially liable parties may include:
- Passengers who encouraged the driver to drink while behind the wheel
- Homeowners and party hosts who serve alcohol to minors or over-serve their guests
- Bars, restaurants, and other alcohol-serving establishments that continue to serve visibly intoxicated patrons
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help DUI victims determine the appropriate parties to name as defendants in their personal injury lawsuit.
Possible Damages for DUI Victims
DUI victims may be eligible for three types of damages: Economic damages, which compensates victims for quantifiable losses; non-economic damages, which seek to compensate victims for intangible losses; and punitive damages, which serve as a punishment for the defendant for conduct deemed especially egregious.
When a DUI Accident Leads to Fatalities
Sadly, drunk driving accidents often result in the deaths of innocent drivers and passengers. When this occurs, select members of the victim's family may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for economic and non-economic losses related to their loved one's death. If someone you love was killed in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, our Kentucky attorneys can help.
Hurt by a Drunk Driver? Consult an Attorney About Your Accident Case
DUI victims can face significant physical and financial challenges. At Shane Smith Law, our knowledgeable attorneys are here to help you fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today to request a free initial case consultation and we'll be in touch within 24 hours to schedule your appointment.