Can I File a Claim if I Am Injured in an Accident Due to a Drunk Driver?
Drunk driving is one of the most common forms of reckless driving across the country. Drivers have shown few signs of reducing this habit, even as legislation has gotten stricter over the years. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), approximately one person is killed in a collision caused by a drunk driver every 50 minutes. Each day, 800 people are injured in these accidents as well. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, there are several important steps to follow to ensure your legal rights are fully protected. Know that you have the right to recover monetary damages.
Damages You Can Claim from a Drunk Driving Accident
As is the case in any automobile accident, you must gather as much documentation as possible after the crash to build your claim. Pull over to a safe area to write down everything about the accident’s events and take photos and videos. Take down the drunk driver’s contact and insurance information as well. Once you have your foundation of evidence, you can file a claim for the following damages:
- Bodily Injury Damages: Any injuries you sustained in the crash should be paid for by the negligent driver. Once you receive medical treatment, save your visit summary, as this will be integral for developing your monetary demands. Your lawyer may also request that your doctor provide an expert medical testimony to substantiate your case.
- Personal Injury Damages: This includes damages that were not inflicted directly onto your body, but your economic, emotional, and psychological wellbeing after the crash.
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages or reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
When filing your claim, it will be your responsibility to prove that the inebriated driver was liable for the crash. Fortunately, the burden of proving fault will be made slightly easier for you, given that there are likely to be arrest records (since the driver will be apprehended for DUI charges) and a recorded blood-alcohol content (BAC) level in the police statement. Still, it is best that you hire a lawyer to assist you in proving liability for your claim.
Further Information on Filing a Claim Against a Drunk Driver
Know that drunk driving incidents are not always civil cases, as are the majority of auto collisions. Since you were injured, the driver can be charged with a misdemeanor, meaning there will be a criminal trial in addition to your injury claim. Although you cannot expect compensation from the criminal trial, the resulting DUI conviction will strengthen your case and improve your chances of securing compensation after the crash.
Your personal injury lawyer will assist you in navigating the litigation process after the crash, since you may need to consider your state’s tort laws. For example, in a no-fault state, the inebriated driver may not be responsible for compensating your losses, but your insurer will be instead. Consult with your lawyer and check your state laws to know what to expect in the aftermath of your crash.