What to Do If You’re in an Alcohol-Related Car Accident

Every 1 in 3 Americans will be involved in a drunk driving accident some time in their life. So odds are pretty high that you might be one of them. And the statistics get even scarier:

  • 36 people in the United States die each day due to alcohol-related car accidents. *
  • Drunk driving related accidents are the cause of over 30% of car accident fatalities each year.*
  • Another drunk driving accident occurs every 39 minutes. **

• (www.nhtsa.dot.gov)

•• (www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810801.PDF)

To improve your odds of avoiding car crash caused by dui, do everything you can to prevent drunk driving. To start, never drink and drive. If you are going out for the evening, make sure someone in your group is a designated driver. Prevent your friends from driving drunk as well, by taking away their car keys when they’ve had too much to drink, and offering them a cab ride home. As simple as they are, these responsible practices do help.

Aggressive Drunk Driving Laws

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drunk driving offenses are down in most states, and designated driver awareness campaigns are cited as a contributing factor. The CDC also attributes lower legal intoxication levels (.08 in all 50 states), and aggressive drunk driving laws.

That’s bad news for those charged with drunk driving. Criminal charges associated with drunk driving include DUI (Driving Under the Influence)––or sometimes called OUI (Operating Under the Influence)––and illegal per se, a charge related to driving over the .08 legal limit. DUI Laws vary by state and usually have stiff penalties. Drunk drivers will be arrested, fined, and usually ordered to some type of alcohol treatment program. Many states also impose jail time, even for first time offenders.

If you are charged with drunk driving, you will need an attorney to defend you against criminal charges, and possibly punitive damages. Drunk driving defendants often face unsympathetic courts, and therefore an experienced attorney is essential in ensuring a responsible defense and fair trial.

Legal Options for Victims of Alcohol-Related Accidents

If you are a victim of a drunk driver, you have many legal options. Driving while under the influence is considered an aggravating factor in car accidents, which means guilty parties can be sued for punitive damages. In addition to other legal concerns associated with drunk driving accidents, a lawyer specializing in car accident claims can help:

  • Investigate your case, and determine if you have a punitive claim to file or even multiple claims.
  • Determine additional liable parties. When a drunk driver is liable, often the persons or establishments who gave liquor to the drunk driver are also liable.
  • Discuss claims with insurance companies who will aggressively attempt to have you agree to a settlement. Do not agree to any insurance settlements for car accidents in the case of a drunk driving accident without the advice of an attorney.

Seeking the Advice of a Car Accident Attorney

Regardless of whether you are charged with drunk driving, or you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, you will need the council of an attorney. Lawyers specializing in drunk driving accident cases, who have a track record of experience and success, will help guide you through this emotional and stressful experience.

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