Everyone knows that drunk drivers can seriously injure and often kill innocent people. However, despite the awareness of the risks of drunk driving, 64,024 people were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania in a single year.1 In addition, about 7,900 people suffered injuries in crashes that were alcohol-related in Pennsylvania. As you can see, drunk driving continues to be a problem and continues to cause serious injuries. The following are some frequently asked questions of drunk driving accident victims.
I believe a driver was drunk after an accident – what do I do?
As with any accident, you always want to call 911 right away so that law enforcement authorities will come to the scene. Calling 911 is especially important if you have been injured or if you suspect that the accident involved an intoxicated driver. Police officers will question the driver and may perform a breathalyzer test or field sobriety test to confirm suspicions of impaired driving. If officers determine the driver was over the legal limit, they will not only include that in their police report but will likely arrest the driver so they will face criminal charges. While any legal claim you bring will be separate from a criminal case, having an arrest and criminal conviction can only help your case.
If you are injured, seek medical treatment immediately so that you have an official record of your diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Your medical records will be essential in proving your damages down the road.
How do I bring a Drunk Driving Accident Claim?
In a few cases, your injuries and the damage to your vehicle may be minor enough that you can obtain compensation simply through an insurance claim. If you receive an offer for an insurance settlement, you should always review the offer with a skilled car accident lawyer before you agree to or sign anything.
If your injuries are serious, however, insurance offers will likely not be enough to cover all of your accident-related losses. In this situation, you will need to file a lawsuit for personal injury with the civil courts in your county. You will have to prove that the driver was negligent in order to prevail in your case, though a drunk driving conviction can serve of automatic proof of such negligence.
Compensation for Your Losses
While it may feel good to have a sense of justice when you prevail in a lawsuit against a drunk driver, the primary purpose of such a case is to seek compensation for your various losses. Such losses generally include:
It can be relatively simple to prove your past losses that are financial in nature. You can present your medical bills and paystubs that concretely show how much your medical treatments cost and how much income you lost during your recovery. It can be significantly more complex to prove your future losses and your intangible losses, however. In order to prove that, you deserve the amount you seek, you may need to enlist experts or use other resources that are reliable and persuasive to the court.
Can I also Sue the Bar or Restaurant that Served the Driver?
The ability to sue an establishment that served alcohol to a person who later caused a drunk driving accidents are based on “dram shop laws,” which vary from state to state.2 In Pennsylvania, you can hold a liquor-selling establishment liable for any injuries you suffered in two specific scenarios:
Discuss Your Options with an Experienced Philadelphia Drunk Driving Attorney Today
After a drunk driving accident, there are many variables that can dictate your rights and your best course of action. As soon as you can, you should call a drunk driving accident lawyer at The Levin Firm to discuss your case. Call 215-825-5183 for a free consultation today.
Every driver should be fully aware of the serious dangers of driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. Under Pennsylvania law,  a driver can be convicted of impaired driving if their blood alcohol content (BAC) was over 0.08 percent. If their BAC was over the legal limit, the driver will likely be arrested and charged with the criminal offense of DUI. A criminal conviction, however, often does not adequately compensate any victims who sustained injuries due to a drunk driving accident. Instead, an injured victim
Drunk driving accidents can be severe because impaired drivers often drive the wrong way on the road, stray from their correct lane, or completely lose control of their vehicle. This often leads to severe head-on collisions, which can occur while both vehicles are moving at high speeds. As you can imagine, this type of accident has the potential to cause serious and even fatal injuries, including the following:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)  – TBI is one of the most common injuries in drunk driving accidents. TBI can range from a concussion that may heal in a few weeks to debilitating brain damage, including life-threatening swelling or bleeding of the brain. TBI can have many different types of symptoms for victims ranging from mild confusion or headaches to severe physical and cognitive difficulties. TBI victims may often not be able to return to work or school or even participate in everyday activities for some time while they recover. Other TBI victims are left with permanent disabilities.
Broken bones – A break or fracture in a bone is often considered to be a relatively minor injury. However, some broken bones resulting from drunk driving accidents can be significantly more serious. Due to an impact of a collision, a bone may be broken in several places, shattered, or even crushed. Victims of severely broken bones generally require surgery and sometimes multiple procedures to repair the damage. In other more tragic cases, it may not be possible to repair a bone and an amputation may be necessary. As you can imagine, amputation can significantly limit an individual’s ability to work or even care for themselves.
Spinal cord injuries (SCI) – Damage to the spinal cord is also common in serious auto accidents such as drunk driving accidents. Spinal cord damage can cause issues with movement, sensation, and can even cause complete paralysis below the point of the injury. The extent of the permanent damage will depend on the severity of the damage to the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. However, almost everyone who sustains spinal cord damage will require hospitalization to stabilize the injury and monitor the victim for complications. Long-term prognosis can vary widely from case to case.
Burns – In some serious collisions, fires or even explosions may result that cause accident victims to suffer painful burn injuries. Burns can also be sustained if an individual is ejected from the vehicle and friction occurs with the road. Burn victims often require extensive treatment including surgeries or skin grafts. Even for victims with less severe burns, the risk for infections is high with this type of injury and they may require hospitalization until their burns have healed.
The above are only some examples of serious injuries from drunk driving accidents. A criminal case is often not enough to hold the drunk driver fully liable for your injuries and, in many situations, you will want to pursue a legal claim in civil court against the drunk driver. Anyone who has suffered any type of injury in a drunk driving accident should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible who understands how to pursue this type of claim.
At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we understand how devastating the effects of a drunk driving accident can be on your life. Victims are often left with catastrophic injuries and a long road to recovery. The fact that the accident and injuries could have been completely prevented had the driver chosen an alternate form of transportation often makes it even more difficult on victims. For this reason, highly experienced DUI accident attorney Gabriel Levin is committed to helping victims of drunk drivers obtain full compensation as well as a sense of justice. Consultations are free and we do not collect any fees unless you are able to recover for your losses. Please call today at 215-825-5183 to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer for help.
Unexpectedly losing a loved one is always devastating. Losing a loved one in an accident that was completely preventable is usually even worse. If your loved one died because another person acted in a reckless or otherwise dangerous manner, that responsible person should be held accountable for their actions. Moreover, you are probably facing many unexpected medical bills and funeral expenses. In addition, if your loved one was a primary breadwinner in the household, his or her death may leave you very concerned about how to pay your bills and support your family for the foreseeable future. Luckily, there is a way to recover financially in many situations to get the compensation you and your family deserve if someone else caused the fatal accident. A dedicated attorney at The Levin Firm can help you bring a wrongful death claim against the liable party and help you receive the settlement you deserve.
Wrongful death cases commonly follow accident caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol. Though every adult should know that drunk driving is strictly against the law, millions of drivers continue to drink too much and get behind the wheel every day in the United States. Thousands of preventable fatalities happen annually because of the poor decision making of drunk drivers.
In order to prevail on a wrongful death case following an accident, you must show that the other driver was acting negligently. If the driver was breaking the law, such as an anti-drunk driving law, at the time of the accident, the court will find them to be “negligent per se,” or automatically negligent. This means that the most important thing you will have to prove at court is that the driver was, in fact, illegally under the influence. An experienced attorney knows how to use police reports and investigation techniques to show the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was over the legal limit and help you recover.
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