Drunk Driving: A Closer Look at the Impact

drunk driving killsWith awareness campaigns ran on radio and TV by the NHTSA, drunk driving statistics are on the way down since 1982 when alcohol-related crashes and fatalities started to be recorded in the U.S. According to the NHTSA, “Every day, almost 29 people in the United States die in alcohol-impaired vehicle crashes—that’s one person every 50 minutes in 2016. Drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by a third in the last three decades; however, drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives per year. In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, these deaths and damages contributed to a cost of $44B per year.

Drunk driving (or “buzzed driving”) is decreasing over time but its human cost remains incredibly high and painful. Families pay an unconscionable price when a loved one is killed or seriously maimed by a drunk driver.  Our law firm chose to represent only the victims, never the drunk drivers. If a member of your family has been injured by a drunk driver, we will sue them for every penny we can get under the law.

What are your options?

Drunk drivers who cause car accidents face both criminal and civil penalties. In fact, injuries from drunk driving incidents are frequently the subject of civil lawsuits, as victims may sue for injury compensation. When someone is seriously injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, suing the at-fault driver may actually be the best option for recovering damages.

Civil suits for injuries

When a personal injury victim brings a civil suit against a drunk driver, this process is completely separate from the related criminal proceeding. While the goal of criminal proceedings is to protect the public from future harm and deter drunk driving, civil lawsuits are meant to compensate the victims. For many families harmed in a drunk driving accident, filing a civil suit is the only way to recover costs for medical treatment, lost wages, damaged property, and other economic harm.

No-fault laws

A state’s no-fault laws affect a victim’s ability to file a civil suit against a drunk driver. A drunk driving accident victim should consult with a local personal injury to determine whether he or she lives in a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, the related damages need to meet a certain statutorily mandated dollar amount in order for the victim to bring a personal injury claim. This is true even if the drunk driver has clearly injured others through a negligent act.

Pure negligence states

In pure negligence states, victims can sue drunk drivers to recover injuries sustained in the accident. In these states, the personal injury victim only needs to prove fault, as in any other civil lawsuit. Though it may be easier to bring a claim in a pure negligence state, the insurance companies and defendant can still use the civil defenses of comparative and contributory negligence.

At The Hameroff Law Firm, P.C., our Tucson personal injury lawyers aggressively fight for full recovery for those injured in drunk driving accidents. When someone’s DUI results in serious injury or loss of life, we help ensure victims get sound legal advice, to schedule a consultation, please call (520) 792-4700.

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