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DUI And DWI Accidents

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, DUI and DWI accident attorneys at The Levin Firm know the consequences and risks associated with vehicle collisions when people drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Most people take steps to ensure that they can safely consume alcohol, such as by recruiting sober designated drivers or using cabs or public transportation. Nonetheless, intoxicated individuals still sometimes end up behind wheels of cars, and all too often, they cause fatal accidents or accidents that leave others with serious life-threatening injuries.

No one should sustain life-changing injuries because a driver broke the law and drove while intoxicated. The law allows victims who are injured in motor vehicle accidents to recover compensation—and at The Levin Firm, we believe in holding drunk drivers fully accountable for any injuries and losses they cause. If you believe you have a claim against a drunk driver, please pick up the phone or contact us online today to discuss what happened.

Drunk Driving Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 17,500 people are killed each year, and thousands more injured, in DUI related motor vehicle accidents. More often than not, the inebriated driver does not suffer the most serious injuriesrather, the passengers, the occupants of other vehicles, or pedestrians get hurt the worst.

About 1.8 percent of adults surveyed in Pennsylvania reported getting behind the wheel of a car after having too much to drink, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The risks of having drunk drivers on the road in Philadelphia increase significantly during holidays and on days when the city is hosting major sports games, concerts, or similar events. On such days, take extreme care and watch for any erratic driving behaviors.

Signs of a Driver’s Impairment

While a driver may sway, slow down, swerve, or otherwise drive erratically for many reasons (such as texting), these can always signal that a driver drank too much alcohol. If you notice these signs, immediately give the driver room and even call the police.

Drunk driving is dangerous because alcohol can cause:

  • Decreased reaction times
  • Lack of focus
  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired judgment

These impairments often lead to the following dangers, among many others:

  • A driver fails to stop in time to avoid hitting the back of another car.
  • A driver does not notice the traffic around the car and changes lanes improperly.
  • A driver cannot maintain a steady speed and slows down or speeds up unexpectedly.
  • A driver is not using good judgment and speeds excessively or drag races.
  • A driver unknowingly turns down the wrong side of the highway.
  • A driver departs from a lane, either side-swiping a car to the right or crashing head-on into oncoming cars to the left.
  • A driver cannot maintain control, crashes, and then causes a chain-reaction crash.

The most careful and vigilant drivers cannot always prevent drunk driving accidents. You can be aware of the risks and statistics and still become a statistic yourself after you are injured in a crash caused by an impaired driver. Know where to turn for help if you are in an accident—call The Levin Firm to discuss your rights.

Criminal DUI Cases vs. Civil Drunk Driving Lawsuits

Drivers who operate motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regardless of whether they cause accidents, are subject to arrest for criminal charges as well as sanctions from the state department of transportation. If you were injured in an accident with an intoxicated driver, you also have the right to bring a private lawsuit against that driver to recover compensation. The criminal side of a drunk driving case is a separate matter from a civil lawsuit—in fact, the cases will be held in different courts altogether.

After an accident in which one driver is suspected of intoxication, call the police immediately. Police officers can make observations, talk to the drivers, and perform field sobriety tests or breathalyzer tests to determine whether a driver was impaired or over the legal limit. If officers have probable cause to believe the driver was drunk, they will arrest the driver, and prosecutors may issue charges of driving under the influence (DUI).

A driver who is convicted will face penalties that depend on blood alcohol content (BAC) and any history of drunk driving. Consequences can include fines, license suspensions, and even time in jail. Compensating any injured accident victims for their extensive losses, however, is not a consequence of a criminal DUI conviction. Therefore, many accident victims are left wondering what they can do.

In this situation, you must seek compensation in civil court by filing a lawsuit. While these proceedings are separate from criminal proceedings, you may use some evidence from the criminal case to your advantage.

In a personal injury case, you must prove the drivers negligence—and driving drunk is certainly considered negligent. If a driver was never arrested, you would have to present witness statements, video evidence, and other types of evidence of the drivers intoxication. However, you can use a drivers conviction of DUI in criminal court as proof of negligence without needing any additional evidence. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer will know how to use any criminal convictions or evidence to help your civil case.

Injuries and Losses in Drunk Driving Crashes

As with any type of traffic accident, those involved in drunk driving crashes can sustain many different types of injuriesranging from minor bruises to permanently disabling conditions. The following examples of injuries may result from serious crashes:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Soft tissue tears, sprains, and strains
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Skull fractures

Immediately treat all of these conditions in an emergency room or similar facility. Once your doctor diagnoses an injury, your doctor should set out a treatment plan that may require time in the hospital, surgical procedures, visits with specialists, rehabilitative therapies, medications and medical equipment, and more.

The costs of treatments can add up quickly and can add stress to your already disrupted life. In some cases, you may not see the end of your treatments, and your bills will continue to mount for years to come.

To make matters worse, injuries can keep you out of work for days, weeks, or even long-term. Losing any amount of income can have a serious effect on your households finances. If you must change careers because of the limitations caused by a permanent injury, you may lose out on significant income during the course of your working years. Fortunately, such lost income is a recoverable loss in a drunk driving accident case.

Our drunk driving accident lawyer knows how to determine all of your past and future losses to make sure you receive full compensation after a crash.

Helping Victims of Drunk Drivers

At The Levin Firm, we understand that representing victims of DUI related accidents requires particular skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to understand your rights. We fight to recover the many types of damages and compensation to which our clients are entitled, including medical expenses, hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost earnings, future wage losses, lost earning capacity, physical disabilities, scars, losses of limbs, brain and head injuries, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, grief, and pain and suffering. We understand these issues and work with our clients, their friends and family, as well as their doctors, psychologists, long-term care planners, and others, to ensure that our clients receive the finest legal representation, support, and medical care.

Representing DUI-related accident victims requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum efforts to their clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member, or a friend who suffered a DUI-related accident injury, call The Levin Firm today at (215) 825-5183 or fill out our contact form online.

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