Free Consultation 

252-378-2525
March 29, 2021

LEGAL OPTIONS IF YOU’RE HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER

The facts about drunk driving are alarming. According to statistics compiled by MADD, or Mothers Against Drunk Driving, between 50 and 75 percent of drivers convicted of DUIs continue to drive even after their licenses are suspended. Around 27 Americans die every day in DUI-related accidents, and every 2 minutes, yet another driver is injured by someone who drives drunk.

If you’ve become one of the tens of thousands of Americans injured by drunk drivers, you deserve to get financial compensation for your injuries and medical bills. Here are the ways you can proceed after a DUI accident to ensure you receive compensation for the damages you may be entitled to.

Civil and Criminal Litigation

Unlike many other personal injury suits, drunk driving cases can result in both civil and criminal suits. A civil suit ensures that you, the victim, receive the financial compensation you may deserve after a negligent driver injures you. In contrast, a criminal suit-which the state brings against the drunk driver-ensures that the general public is not endangered by the same drunk driver in the future.

Civil Suits

It’s always shocking to be hit by a driver out of the blue but being hit by a drunk driver can have particularly devastating, tragic consequences. Drunk drivers are mentally or physically impaired, so unlike other drivers who might make a mistake and try to correct it before they hit you, drunk drivers do not notice or have the ability to correct an error before a crash.

Fortunately, establishing a drunk driver’s liability in an accident is relatively simple if the drunk driver was arrested or cited at the time of the accident.

If the court finds the driver liable, you could receive general damages, which could compensate you for mental and physical suffering; special damages, which could compensate you for financial losses; and punitive or exemplary damages, which are meant to discipline the defendant for breaking the law. The court could also award you punitive damages to deter the defendant from committing future crimes.

Regardless of whether or not the state brings a criminal suit, you will have to file a civil lawsuit to pay your medical bills, recover lost wages, and receive enough money to deal with any future surgeries or physical therapy. Even punitive damages can only be awarded in a civil lawsuit, not a criminal one.

In some states, you can also bring a civil suit against someone who allowed the driver to drive drunk. For instance, under a dram shop law, you can file against the bar, pub, or restaurant that let the driver leave while intoxicated. If your state has a social host law, you can file against an individual or host who continued to serve alcohol to someone who was clearly drunk, especially to a minor.

Criminal Suits

Since drunk drivers are breaking the law, not merely being negligent drivers who are subject to human error, they are often prosecuted by the district attorney. As the victim, you may need to testify for the prosecution during the criminal case. Again, remember that you can only receive compensation through a civil suit.

Insurance Settlements

As with any personal injury claim, the other driver’s insurance company will get in touch with you and try to work out a settlement. If you were not seriously injured in the crash-for instance, if you talked to a medical professional and established that you only suffer from mild injuries-you may consider accepting a settlement.

Bear in mind that any insurance company’s goal is to save as much money as possible, so they will likely lowball you at first. Which is why, you should not sign anything with the insurance company until you’ve talked to a lawyer. If you have settled with the company, you won’t be able to pursue civil litigation in the future.

It is also crucial to confer with a medical professional before accepting a settlement. Even if you think you only have minor neck and back pain, you could have underlying injuries that will take a while to manifest. Visit the doctor to make sure that your injuries really are as mild as you think they are.

You might also want to pursue civil litigation instead of accepting a settlement to ensure the driver is punished for breaking the law. Some proponents of punitive damages argue that they encourage victims like you to do your part to hold the drunk driver accountable.

Since many drunk drivers are repeat offenders, you should seriously consider bringing a suit against him or her to deter the driver from committing the same crime.

Contact a Lawyer

Whether you are pursuing a settlement or filing a civil lawsuit, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. In a drunk driving suit, you may deserve compensation-the other driver was clearly at fault and clearly broke the law. Your injuries are not your fault, and you should not have to pay for recovery out of your own pocket.

With over 58 years combined legal experience, the attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett have aggressively prosecuted many drunk driving cases. We have worked with the district attorney’s office to ensure justice for the families we’ve represented and to get drunk drivers off the road for the safety of others. Turn to the legal team at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett for a free consultation.

 

 

 

 

October 6, 2020

ALCOHOL AFFECTS YOUR ABILITY TO DRIVE

Car accidents happen for many reasons. Distracted driving, speeding, and drivers failing to obey road signs are just a few reasons that could lead to a moto vehicle crash. And these behaviors are illegal and cause for concern, driving under the influence of alcohol can be especially harmful to you and drivers around you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 people lose their lives to car accidents that involve alcohol every day in the United States. Despite these staggering statistics, some drivers continue to think nothing of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Here are some ways that drinking alcohol can affect your driving ability to drive and cause severe, and even deadly, car accidents.

DECREASED MULTI-TASKING ABILITY

While driving may not seem like a complex procedure after you have been doing it for year, operating a motor vehicle does require some skill. Drivers must perform a variety of tasks at the same time, such as steering the wheel while using a signal to change lanes or turn. The more alcohol you’ve consumes, the harder it will be to multi-task while you are driving. The truth is that many people experience a decreased ability to multi-task after just two drinks.

REDUCED RESPONSE TIMES

You must be alert when you are behind the wheel of a car. When you pay attention, you notice road hazards more quickly which means you can respond before a crash actually occurs. Inebriation not only affects your ability to be alert, it also dulls your response in the event of an emergency. For example, a drunk driver may not notice a stopped care in the road ahead until it is too late, which can cause a car crash.

COGNITIVE DEFICIENCIES

The ability to process many types of information when driving is a must. You must be on the look-out for obstacles in the road while being able to listen for sirens from approaching emergency vehicles. You also have to be aware of pedestrians when you are driving through areas with lots of people walking and crossing streets. Drinking dulls your senses and limits your cognitive abilities, which is key to making good decisions and assessing risk for an accident occurs.

If you have been injured in an accident due to a drunk driver, call the attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP for a free consultation.

August 18, 2020

DRIVING DROWSY CAUSES SERIOUS ACCIDENTS

North Carolina has many roadways. From back country roads to large highways, we have many, and they are being used by more and more drivers daily. This blog will talk about the increased presence of drowsy driving and how these types of drivers can cause serious accidents and injuries to you and others.
If someone gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when they are too tired, they are considered a drowsy driver. Just like drunk driving and distracted driving and driving create dangerous circumstances, driving drowsy driving causes the exact same problems.

You may not believe this, but drowsy drivers can exhibit many of the same symptoms that distracted or drunk drivers do, including:

  • Slowed reaction times
  • Poor perception
  • Slower critical thinking skills
  • Heightened or increased negative emotions such as irritation which could lead to road rage or another thoughtless action
    Driving drowsy can make your reaction time slower, making drivers less likely to brake in time to avoid a crash. And, they are also less likely to spot a danger and react appropriately. Adding to that, they are also more like to fall asleep behind the wheel. The reason this is so dangerous is that you typically have little to no warning that another driver dozed off. Dozed drivers can cross into other lanes or cross lanes altogether into oncoming traffic.

If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligent actions and behavior of a drowsy driver, you need to contact the attorneys at Hardee, Massey & Blodgett. Let us help you receive the compensation you may deserve to get back on your feet. Call us today at 252-378-2525 for a free consultation and let us help you move past this incident.