With over 9,900 people killed in auto accidents involving alcohol in 2014, the problem of people drinking and getting behind the wheel is very serious. In fact, DUI-related accidents account for over 30% of all vehicular deaths in the entire country. There were over 1.1 million drivers arrested for driving under the influence in 2014, according to the CDC.
If this happens to you, you deserve to collect compensation for the injuries you suffer at the hands of the negligent driver. Learn what happens when a pedestrian is injured in a drunk driving accident, and how a car accident lawyer can help you get compensation for damages.
Suing the Driver
The first question people have when they’re injured by a drunk driver is whether they can and should sue. The answer to this question is quite simply, yes. Drunk driving inherently fits the textbook definition of negligence — someone driving under the influence is behaving in a grossly irresponsible and dangerous way, and their victims are certainly entitled to a range of damages as a result of the accident.
What Kind of Damages Can Be Recovered?
There are a broad range of damages that can be recovered in a drunk driving accident. These are divided into two, overarching categories: General and Special damages.
Special damages are those damages that are easy to quantify. Things like your medical bills—hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, rehabilitation, medication and the like — and your lost wages and compensation, even future potential earnings fall into this category.
General damages are more difficult to assign a number. These are things like pain and suffering, loss of your normal quality of life, lost companionship and consortium, and sometimes punitive damages in grievous cases.
Insurance and Damage Limits
If you do collect damages from your case, you’ll need to be aware of certain limits that may come into play. Your case might be worth a great deal of money, but if the insurance policy of the defendant has a lower limit, you could have difficulty collecting the rest.
For example, let’s say your total special and general damages are valued at $250,000, but the responsible driver’s auto insurance only covers $150,000. That’s the maximum the insurance will pay. Technically the driver is still on the hook for the extra $100,000, but if they don’t have it to pay you may have trouble practically collecting.
Calling a Car Accident Lawyer
One of the keys to both getting the maximum possible settlement, and in collecting the most possible, is to work with a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer. A lawyer will be able to stand up against insurance companies who are dead-set against paying the damages you’ve suffered and protect your rights as a victim. They may also be able to help you learn how to collect additional damages beyond the insurance limits, or if this is even possible in your case.
For many years the experienced accident attorneys at Parrish DeVaughn have helped people throughout the Oklahoma City area seek compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered. If you’ve been hurt by a drunk driver, call us today to discuss your case at no cost.