The dangers of drunk driving are widely known, and while rideshare programs have popped up across the world, the problem still exists. The NHTSA estimates that one person dies every 50 minutes in the US due to drunk driving. While these numbers have fallen over the last three decades, drunk drivers still claim over 10,000 lives in the United States per year.
Alcohol affects your central nervous system, making it difficult to drive or perform other motor skills safely. In most states, the legal limit is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08. Once you reach this BAC, you will have poor muscle coordination and may suffer from lapses in judgment and perception. Even levels below this BAC may result in reduced coordination and reaction time.
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, it’s important that you follow these steps to protect your rights and recover your losses:
After your involvement in an auto accident, you should call 911. This is especially important after a drunk driving accident. Drunk drivers may be belligerent and dangerous, so it’s important to have an office at the scene as soon as possible. Additionally, an officer will evaluate the situation, and check for the presence of alcohol, slurred speech, or odors that may indicate that the driver has been drinking. If the officer determines that alcohol was involved, he may perform a breathalyzer, field sobriety test, or call for a blood test. If the results are positive, criminal charges may be filed.
If the other driver is charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), the defendant will have to appear in court and may face trial. You may be called by the prosecutor or District Attorney to testify as a witness.
Receiving immediate care for your injuries is an important step. Seeking proper medical care following an accident can prevent your injuries from getting worse, and your doctor will be able to provide documentation that helps prove that your injuries were sustained as a result of the accident. This information will become extremely important should you seek compensation for your losses.
DWIs and DUIs are prosecuted in criminal court, while personal injury claims are litigated in civil court. The burden of proof in a civil case is much lower (preponderance of the evidence) than in a criminal case (beyond a reasonable doubt). You may still be able to file a civil claim, even if the criminal case is discharged. It is important to closely monitor what happens in the criminal case, as the information may be used as evidence in your civil case.
Your entire world can be turned upside down following a car accident. Drunk driving accidents can cause serious injuries or death, so it’s important to have an experienced and dedicated Injury attorney on your side. Your attorney may obtain police reports, witness statements, and investigate the accident. They’ll help you gather any additional evidence, and can communicate with the prosecutor or District Attorney handling the criminal case against the drunk driver to ensure they have as much evidence as possible to win your civil case.
At Saladino & Schaaf, our personal injury attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience representing Kentuckians involved in drunk driving accidents. Contact one of our attorneys today to discuss your case at 270-444-0406 (Paducah) / 270-753-1529 (Murray) or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is dedicated to providing high quality, aggressive legal representation to victims of personal injury and wrongful death. Since 1984, this firm and its predecessors have had one goal in mind – to help the victims of personal injury put the pieces of their lives back together.
Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC is a Personal Injury Law Firm with offices in Paducah, KY and Murray, KY. We serve clients throughout Kentucky and Illinois.
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