Drunk drivers are nothing short of an epidemic and plague on the roads. Despite our best efforts to curb this reckless, irresponsible and criminal activity, thousands of people still die every single year from alcohol-related accidents. In fact, according to the CDC, over 10,000 deaths occurred in the year 2010 as the result of drunk drivers.
When you’re injured by a drunk driver, not only are you confused, scared and in pain, but you’re enraged. Someone deserves to be held accountable, but what are your options? Learn your options when hit by a drunk driver, how you can hold them responsible for what they’ve done, and how a car accident attorney can help.
Document the Scene
Document the scene of the accident as much as humanly possible. The more photographs you can take of the accident scene, the better off you’ll be. Talk to witnesses, and exchange information with everyone present. Above all else, make sure you call for first responders, have anyone requiring medical attention seen, and file a police report. All of this evidence will be important in pursuing your case later.
Damages when Hit by a Drunk Driver
There are two kinds of damages for which you might file in a drunk driving case. The first are special damages, which cover direct monetary damages like medical expenses, lost wages and income, and practical economic losses. The other type of damages are general damages. These are more subjective and involve things like pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of companionship.
There is a third, and rarer, form of damage that can sometimes be collected. This constitutes punitive damages, which are only awarded in situations where the behavior was truly reckless, egregious, or intentional. These kinds of damages are usually awarded where deaths are involved.
Be Careful with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies will likely contact you soon after the accident to try and get you to sign off on a very lowball offer. Failing this, they’ll try a number of tactics to avoid paying you the full amount of damages to which you’re entitled. Never sign anything they put in front of you without discussing the case with your attorney. It could make getting full compensation very difficult.
Dram Shop and Host Liability Laws
There are other forms of laws that enable you to hold not only the drunk driver responsible, but those who sold or served them the alcohol. These dram shop laws and host liability laws can be cited to extend liability to the establishment where the driver was drinking, or to the host of the party or gathering where the alcohol was served.
These laws can not only increase the damages you can collect, but your chances of recovering damages. They can also, however, make it trickier to establish liability.
If You’re Hit by a Drunk Driver
In the end, if you’re hit by a drunk driver, you should call on the services of a qualified and experienced Charleston auto accident and personal injury attorney. Don’t try to fight your case alone. Contact Stewart Bell, PLLC for help today, and get justice for the injuries you’ve suffered.