Most motor vehicle accidents result from driver mistakes, and one of the most severe mistakes a driver can make is getting behind the wheel of a car or truck after having too much to drink. Drunk driving accidents can sometimes lead to deadly consequences for everyone involved.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving has unfortunately become all too common in recent years. In a recent year, approximately 10,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents that involved a drunk driver. Therefore, nearly one-third of all road fatalities result from a drunk driver, translating into one person dying in a drunk-driving car accident every fifty-three minutes.
Las Vegas is famous for its party-like culture, especially for tourists. Because some people might choose to drive after drinking, drunk driving crashes are far too common throughout Las Vegas, affecting the lives of residents and tourists alike.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a recent drunk driving accident, you must retain the legal help you need immediately. Insurance companies are never on your side and will do very little to help you recover the favorable monetary compensation you need to become whole again.
On the other hand, a drunk driving accident lawyer in Las Vegas will be on your side, ready to advocate for you at every stage of the proceedings.
Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your drunk driving accident and take the necessary legal actions to bring those responsible to justice. For example, your lawyer may file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system.
Your lawyer will do everything possible to maximize the financial compensation you recover in your drunk driving car accident case.
When Is a Driver Legally Intoxicated?
Given the many dangers associated with drunk and drugged driving, the State of Nevada imposes harsh legal standards and penalties for drunk drivers. Drivers twenty-one years of age or older are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of at least 0.08 percent.
Drivers under twenty-one years old can be convicted of DUI if their BAC is 0.02 percent or higher. Moreover, a commercial vehicle driver, such as a tractor-trailer operator, is legally intoxicated if they have a BAC of at least 0.04 percent.
If an individual incurs a drunk driving conviction, they may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties. For example, they may have to serve between two days and six months in jail, complete 96 hours of community service, attend required substance-abuse treatment or DUI school, pay between $400 and $1,000 in monetary fines, pay a $35 victim compensation civil penalty, incur a license revocation for a period of ninety days, pay fees to have their license reinstated, and pay for an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
Besides paying the initial cost for an ignition interlock device on their car, they must also pay regular maintenance costs. To operate their vehicle, they will need to breathe into the device. If the device detects any amount of alcohol on their breath, their car will not start.
In addition to incurring these potential penalties upon conviction, you can hold a drunk driver civilly responsible if they caused a motor vehicle accident leading to others' injuries. Specifically, an injured motorist may file a personal injury claim with the drunk driver's insurance company for various types of monetary compensation and damages.
Similarly, if a drunk driver causes an accident that leads to one or more fatalities, the deceased driver or passenger's family member can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit seeking monetary compensation, including the cost of burial and funeral expenses.
A drunk driving accident lawyer in your area can explore your legal options and take the appropriate legal action on your behalf right away.
Types of Accidents that Drunk Drivers Frequently Cause
When drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they tend to drive erratically and carelessly. Consequently, their chances of causing a severe motor vehicle accident increase significantly.
Some of the most common types of collisions that drunk and drugged drivers cause include:
- Rear-end collisions, where the front of a drunk driver's vehicle strikes the back portion of another car, usually because the drunk driver is speeding or fails to stop their vehicle in time to avoid the collision
- Head-on collisions, where a drunk driver passes another vehicle in a no-passing zone or negligently causes their car to veer across a double center line, striking another vehicle head-on and frequently causing permanent injuries or fatalities
- Sideswipe accidents, where a drunk driver negligently causes their vehicle to drift into an adjacent travel lane, striking the side of another car that is traveling in the same direction
- Broadside or T-bone accidents, where the front of a drunk driver's vehicle hits the side of the car traveling on an intersecting roadway
If you sustain injuries in one of these types of drunk driving accidents, a knowledgeable drunk driving accident lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances and prepare your claim for filing.
Your lawyer can then negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf for the fair and reasonable settlement compensation you deserve for your accident-related losses.
Common Injuries in Drunk Driving Accidents
Victims of drunk driving accidents often suffer severe injuries, some of which may be permanent or fatal. The injuries that a drunk driving accident victim sustains will depend upon certain factors, including the number of collisions involved, the force of the crashes, the type of accident that occurs, and how the accident victim's body moves inside their vehicle at the time of impact.
Common injuries that a driver or passenger may suffer in a drunk driving crash include open cuts and lacerations, bruises, eye injuries, mouth and teeth injuries, soft tissue contusions, fractures, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, traumatic head and brain injuries, paralysis injuries, complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries, and death.
Following a drunk driving accident, your top priority should be obtaining the medical treatment you need to recover fully. Follow through with your entire medical treatment regimen, undergo the necessary (recommended) medical procedures, and attend physical therapy sessions.
Completing your medical treatment regimen successfully increases your chances of recovering from your injuries and obtaining fair monetary compensation from the drunk driver's insurance company.
If the insurance company sees that you prioritized your medical treatment, they are more likely to offer you favorable monetary damages for your injuries.
In the meantime, your drunk driving accident attorney can begin handling the legal components of your case, including gathering relevant documents, assembling those documents into a settlement demand package, and drafting a settlement demand letter on your behalf for the insurance company adjuster's review.
Filing a Claim With the Drunk Driver's Insurance Company
Through their attorneys, injured victims of drunk driving accidents can file a personal injury claim with the drunk driver's insurance company.
First, a personal injury lawyer will gather and assemble various documents that will be necessary to prove the claim or lawsuit.
Those documents may include copies of police investigation reports, medical treatment records, medical bills, lost-wage documentation from an employer, injury photographs, property damage photographs, and any video footage showing the accident.
The insurance company adjuster handling the case will review these documents and may begin the settlement negotiation process.
Throughout settlement negotiations, a drunk driving accident lawyer can aggressively advocate for your legal interests so that you receive the highest settlement offer available in your case.
Many times, at least initially, insurance company representatives will try to undervalue accident claims and provide as little monetary compensation as possible to settle. This is because insurance companies want to keep as much of their money in-house as possible, and they cannot accomplish this goal if they must pay out a large financial settlement to an accident victim.
Your personal injury lawyer can highlight the strengths of your case, downplay any weaknesses, and, if necessary, threaten the insurance company with litigation if they steadfastly refuse to increase the settlement offer in your case.
If your case must proceed to litigation, your lawyer can handle all the necessary legal steps for you and represent you at all legal proceedings, including discovery depositions, settlement conferences, jury trials, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings.
In those proceedings, your lawyer can introduce evidence, make compelling arguments, call witnesses, and work to maximize the litigation award you receive for your accident-related losses.
Recoverable Monetary Damages in a Drunk Driving Accident
Victims of drunk driving accidents are frequently eligible to recover various types of monetary compensation, depending upon the seriousness of their injuries and other factors.
The extent of an accident victim's economic damage award will depend upon various factors, including the scope of their medical treatment, the severity of their injuries, and the overall cost of their losses and damages.
First, drunk driving accident victims may recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and loss of earning capacity.
In addition to recovering their out-of-pocket losses, accident victims may pursue compensation for their intangible losses, including mental distress, lost quality of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, physical pain and suffering, inconvenience, lifetime care costs, long-term care costs, permanent disfigurement or disability, humiliation from visible scarring, and loss of spousal consortium and companionship.
Your lawyer can ballpark your case's settlement or verdict value so that you have reasonable expectations about the types and amounts of monetary damages you may recover. Your lawyer can then take the legal steps necessary to maximize your overall monetary award through a favorable settlement offer or litigation result in the court system.
Speak With a Drunk Driving Car Accident Lawyer Near You Today
When drunk drivers cause serious accidents that lead to physical injuries and damages, the law holds them accountable. If you recently suffered injuries in a drunk driving car accident, you need to retain legal counsel in your case as quickly as possible.
Accident victims have only two years, starting on the date of their accident, to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. If the accident victim files their lawsuit after the statute of limitations ends, they will likely waive their right to receive any financial recovery for their losses.
You need to immediately contact legal counsel about your drunk driving accident. Your Las Vegas personal injury attorney can then handle every step of the process for you and work to maximize the total financial recovery you receive for your accident.