Holding Drunk Drivers Accountable
All he had to do was call a cab. She could have gotten a ride with the designated driver. You have every right to be angry if you or a loved one was hurt by a drunk driver. It may be the most selfish and reckless act one can commit.
But your justifiable anger cannot make you whole again. It cannot provide you with the financial resources your family needs, and it cannot provide you with the medical care and rehabilitation that will get you back on your feet. To make things right after a car accident, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer who can fight for you.
At David & Associates, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, we focus on making sure that victims of drunk driving accidents get the help they need with everything that comes after a serious crash. From ensuring you see a doctor to dealing with getting your vehicle repaired, we strive to make sure you have what you need so that you are not left to fight a losing battle with an insurance
company that is interested in doing everything but the right thing.
How Are Drunk Driving Accident Claims Different from Criminal DWI Cases?
In North Carolina, as in every other state, drunk driving is against the law. People found guilty of driving while impaired (also referred to as “driving under the influence”) face criminal and administrative penalties, ranging from jail time to fines to driver’s license suspension. While the purpose of DWI laws is to deter people from getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, as well as punish those who do, criminal DWI penalties do little to help victims.
A drunk driving accident claim is a type of civil lawsuit that allows victims to recover financial compensation for damages they incurred due to the accident. “Damages” is a personal injury term used to describe economic and non-economic losses stemming from an accident and/or injury.
By filing a drunk driving accident claim, you may be able to recover compensation for your:
- Emergency medical care
- Ambulance/hospital fees
- Medical bills
- Ongoing treatment costs
- Medications/medical equipment
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income/wages
- Lost future earnings
- Lost earning capacity due to disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress/trauma
- Counseling services
In some cases, you may even be able to recover punitive damages, which are intended to punish the liable party for egregious negligence and/or a wanton or willful disregard for human life.
Who Is Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents?
While it may seem obvious that the drunk driver is the one who is responsible for your injuries and damages, they may not be the only legally liable party.
Under North Carolina’s dram shop laws, you may have a case against a bar, restaurant, or another establishment that served alcohol to a minor who went on to cause the crash. Additionally, the state’s social host laws allow you to bring a claim against nearly anyone who provides alcohol to an individual who subsequently causes a drunk driving accident.
In the case of a dram shop claim, you must prove the following elements:
- The establishment provided (or sold) alcohol to someone underage
- The underage individual caused the accident while impaired by the alcohol
provided by the establishment
- The accident was the proximate cause of your injuries/damages
To bring a claim under North Carolina’s social host laws, you will have to demonstrate the following:
- The “social host” provided alcohol to the person who caused the crash
- The crash occurred while the individual was impaired
- The social host knew or should have known that the individual was intoxicated
- The social host had reason to believe the individual would operate a motor
vehicle after being served alcohol
While most dram shop cases in North Carolina involve minors, social host claims generally apply regardless of the age of the drunk driver.
Why Is Drunk Driving Important in Car Accident Cases?
The majority of personal injury cases, including auto accident claims, are settled outside of court. However, the anticipated reaction of a jury can go a long way toward strengthening a victim’s hand at the negotiating table—and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that most juries will not side with the drunk driver. Insurance companies know this, which is why they are often more willing to settle drunk driving accident claims.
Drunk driving is also an important element of a car accident case because it could lead to a dram shop or social host claim. This could allow you to obtain additional compensation that would not otherwise be available in a standard car accident case.
Fighting for the Justice You Deserve
If you suffered catastrophic injuries or if your loved one was wrongfully killed by a drunk driver, David & Associates, Attorneys at Law, PLLC is here for you. We believe that you deserve justice, which is why we work tirelessly to hold the drunk driver (and other liable parties) accountable.
The best way to move forward after a drunk driving accident is to make sure you get the compensation you need for your lost earnings, medical bills, and the anguish you have gone through. Our Wilmington drunk driving accident lawyers have over 136 years of combined experience and have helped more than 65,000 clients. With offices located in Wilmington, Jacksonville, Wallace, and throughout southeastern North Carolina, our firm is ready to guide you through the legal process.