Every year, thousands of individuals are guilty of drunk driving. Unfortunately, drunk driving accidents can have serious consequences. In some cases, a driver or passenger loses their life. Other collisions result in injuries that cause permanent disability.
If you or a loved one is a victim of a drunk driving accident, you may be able to achieve justice. You can contact a lawyer from Bauman Law APLC to learn more.
What Can Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents Do?
When another driver is guilty of negligence and causes an accident, they could be on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Because drunk driving is a negligent act, most victims of drunk driving can work with a lawyer to file a personal injury claim.
The first thing you should do after the accident is to call the police. When they arrive, it’s in your best interest to cooperate with them. You should also receive medical care. If you don’t get emergency medical care, go to the doctor and get a check-up.
You should also contact an attorney. Once you do, you can learn about your options. Although the police may arrest the drunk driver, that doesn’t help you financially recover from the accident. You need to file a personal injury claim to receive compensation for the accident. If a loved one died in the accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
There are several steps you need to go through to receive compensation. However, your lawyer can handle all of the work. They can build a case and work to reach a settlement or a court agreement.
In some cases, you might be able to file a lawsuit against another party. For instance, you could sue the bar that served the drunk driver. In certain states, dram shop laws hold the alcohol vendor civilly responsible for accidents. This only applies to cases that involve a vendor serving to over-intoxicated individuals.
California is one of the states that does not allow for dram shop laws. Therefore, you cannot file a civil suit against the third-party. You can, however, hold the alcohol vendor criminally liable.
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
There are only two basic requirements to a civil claim against a drunk driver — you were injured in the incident and the drunk driver’s negligence resulted in the accident.
Whether or not you are partially responsible for the accident does not matter. In states like California, the courts rely on comparative fault. You can still receive compensation for an accident in which you are partially at-fault. However, you only receive a percentage of your total damages. For example, you might be 20% at fault for the incident. You would only receive 80% of the damages.
The only exception is for those who are more at fault than the drunk driver. If you take the majority of the blame, then you cannot file a personal injury claim. Before you make any decisions, you should consult with an attorney.
There is one very important limitation to consider — the deadline for filing a claim. Every state has unique laws regarding statutes of limitations. If you fail to file your claim before the deadline, you risk your chance at a settlement or your day in court.
Typically, the timeline is approximately two years from the date of the accident. However, this does vary by state. To avoid missing your opportunity, you should file as quickly as possible.
Should You Get a Lawyer?
In the U.S., 29 people die every day from collisions that involve drivers impaired by alcohol. Both fatalities and injuries come at a high cost. A family can lose their sole income or go into debt because of medical bills.
If you file a successful civil lawsuit, you may be able to recover some of what you lost. Although you might never recover fully from the accident, you can still receive money for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more. Contact Bauman Law APLC to learn more.