Every 39 minutes, someone in America dies from a drunk driving accident. Some people who drink and drive also use recreational drugs, which further compounds the problem. Impaired drivers are more likely to drive erratically and less likely to respond appropriately to sudden situations. Law enforcement in Greenwood has likely looked into pressing charges against the drunk driver if you or someone you know has suffered injuries in an accident.
Can you also hire a car accident lawyer to file a claim against the drunk driver?
Over the years, we have learned that no two cases are alike. Our team at Sevenish Law Firm reviews each carefully. Only then do we have the information necessary to provide a detailed and accurate response.
How Does Alcohol Affect Drivers?
Alcohol affects people differently, and everyone has a unique tolerance level. Even one alcoholic drink can affect a driver’s ability to function normally, and tolerance levels can vary across types of alcohol. In 2021, 2,266 people died in crashes involving a BAC under the limit, so even one drink is too many for some.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that alcohol negatively impacts brain functions, muscle coordination, and effective reasoning. Drivers need these and other skills to operate their vehicles safely.
Here are some of the ways alcohol use can impact driving performance:
- Slows reaction time
- Decreases coordination
- Impairs judgment
- Reduces vision and hearing acuity
- Increases likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel
Who Is Liable for a Drunk Driving Crash?
Drunk drivers are often the most convenient person to blame for a DUI crash, but they are not always wholly at fault. Indiana uses a modified comparative negligence fault model for car crashes, so partial negligence assigned to other persons in the collision could affect their settlement amounts. For example, 25% liability to you or your loved one could result in a 25% subtraction from the settlement your drunk driving accident lawyer wins on your behalf.
Here are some entities that could be liable:
- Drunk driver: Your drunk driving accident lawyer will likely hold the drunk driver responsible for his or her actions, regardless of who else might have some blame. That’s because drunk driving is often a risk people knowingly take once and continue to do until they get caught or harm others.
- Bar or bartender: Sometimes, bartenders will continue to serve a person who is already intoxicated. If that person then causes a DUI accident, the bartender or establishment may have some liability.
- Other road users: Negligent drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others can cause a crash. A sober person could have responded well to these situations, but a drunk driver might not. Still, those persons may receive partial blame.
- Insurance company: While the drunk driver may receive blame as an individual, the insurance company provides liability protection. Consequently, drunk driving injury lawyers may file their claims with the insurance company if he or she has an active policy.
What Is the Difference Between a Criminal and Civil Case Against a Drunk Driver?
A drunk driver who causes an accident will likely face criminal charges, such as driving under the influence of alcohol. Criminal cases focus on the legality of impaired driving and seek to punish the person for their actions. The court may also suspend or revoke the person’s license. Criminal courts do not typically award damages to affected persons.
Instead, you may need to file a separate civil case against the DUI driver. Your drunk driving accident lawyer can help you recover damages for these and other items:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
How Much Compensation Is Available to Drunk Driving Accident Victims?
Compensation for your DUI accident in Greenwood depends on the gravity of the injuries or damage. The judge may determine this based on the following factors:
- The driver’s BAC or another level of impairment
- Speed of travel
- The severity of bodily harm or disability
- Prognosis for recovery
- The severity of damages caused to physical property
- Whether someone died
If the responsible party receives a DUI conviction, this can help your case but does not guarantee a higher amount. You may receive several thousand dollars or upwards of $1 million. Punitive damages can contribute significantly to the total figure if awarded.
How Can Our Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Help?
We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that DUI accidents can take on victims and their families. We fight hard to ensure you receive the compensation your case deserves.
Some factors may increase your need for an attorney, including when the DUI driver:
- Is a notable person in the community
- Did not survive the accident
- Did not have an active insurance policy
- Had a suspended license
- Fled the scene after causing the crash
Our team will work tirelessly to review the evidence, build a strong case, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary. Contact a drunk driving accident lawyer today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.