NASHVILLE DUI ACCIDENT LAWYER
About 80 percent of Americans say they consume alcohol, and about 25 percent say they binge drink (consume enough alcohol in one sitting to become intoxicated). As outlined below, both categories of drinkers could cause a serious car crash. Mostly because they are often high-speed wrecks, alcohol-related collisions have high fatality rates. Even if the victims survive, they usually must deal with permanent injuries.
Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
Drunk driving is a serious problem in the United States. The amount of car crashes, fatal injuries, and personal injury cases that result from drunk drivers getting behind the wheel demonstrates the severity of the issue.
Recent statistics that track DUI accidents caused by drunk drivers are alarming. Every day, about 32 people die because of a car accident involving a drunk driver. In the year 2020 alone, 11,654 people died because of an alcohol-impaired driver operating a vehicle. These numbers indicate that drunk drivers are a huge danger to themselves and especially to others on the road.
What Can Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents Do?
Since drunk driving often causes DUI accidents that are severe or even fatal, victims are often left with a future that is completely destroyed. They could be facing lost wages due to missed time at work, extensive physical therapy, high medical expenses, and even non-economic damages like emotional suffering. In the most tragic circumstances, a drunk driving accident could cause a wrongful death and lead to funeral costs for surviving family members. A victim’s entire outlook on life is changed in the blink of an eye because of the poor decision-making of a drunk driver.
If you have been involved in a Nashville drunk driving accident and have been injured as a result, you should know what your legal rights can do to protect your future. Holding the other driver responsible when their blood alcohol concentration is too high may be the only way to cover the losses that result from the accident.
Filing a Lawsuit Against Drunk Drivers
The best way to hold a drunk driver responsible if there is no criminal case is with a civil suit. However, those who are hurt in a car accident can pursue a claim even if there are criminal charges brought against the impaired driver. Personal injury claims after a drunk driving accident can be very difficult to win.
There must be damages that can be assessed for the victim, and they must be a direct result of the drunk driving accident. Damages can include bills for medical care, lost income, property damage, funeral/burial costs, and emotional pain and suffering. The victim of a drunk driving accident can list these losses as damages to be covered by a settlement.
Compensation is another major aspect of personal injuries. To cover the losses you have experienced from medical treatment or other damages, you can pursue a settlement from the other driver and their insurance company.
Compiling relevant evidence is how you can strengthen your drunk driving accident case and have a better chance of winning. You will need to provide medical records to prove the extent of your injuries. A police report of the crash can back up your claims of negligence by the other drivers. Witness statements can also help tip the balance in your favor. The stronger your evidence profile, the more likely the impaired driver is the be held accountable.
Proving Liability with a Drunk Driver
The most difficult step for any drunk driving case is proving liability. The burden of proof lies with the claimant, and they have to demonstrate with evidence that their damages were suffered because of the negligence of the drunk driver. There are two main categories of liability in this case.
First Party Liability
One drink is one too many. The impairing effects of alcohol include slow motor skills and an artificial sense of euphoria. These effects, which begin after the first sip of alcohol, might mean more fun at a party. But they are usually dangerous, and often fatal, when the person operates heavy machinery, such as a motor vehicle. Circumstantial evidence of alcohol impairment includes:
- Erratic pre-crash driving,
- Tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) statements to witnesses about alcohol consumption,
- Physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes, and
- Tortfeasor’s previous schedule.
That last bullet point illustrates the burden of proof in these claims, which is a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If the tortfeasor was recently at a place where alcohol was available, it’s more likely than not that s/he had at least one drink there.
If authorities charged the tortfeasor with DUI, the negligence per se shortcut could apply. Tortfeasors could be liable for damages as a matter of law if:
- They violate the DUI law or another safety law, and
- That violation substantially causes a car wreck.
In both kinds of claims, available compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Compensation is normally high in alcohol-related wrecks. Arguably, these tortfeasors knew they should not have gotten behind the wheel. Yet they chose to drive anyway, knowingly putting other people at risk in the process.
Third Party Liability
Since these collisions have such high catastrophic injury and fatality rates, individuals often don’t have enough insurance to provide fair compensation to victims. Tennessee has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country.
Fortunately for these victims, the dram shop law often applies to these wrecks. Bars, saloons, and other commercial alcohol providers are financially responsible for crash damages if:
- The customer was under 21, or
- A vendor sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated individual, and
- That alcohol consumption directly caused the car crash or other injury.
Vicarious liability usually attaches as a matter of law if the patron was under 21. The old “s/he looked older” defense usually doesn’t hold up in court. The circumstantial evidence listed above is usually admissible to prove obvious intoxication. The same standard of evidence applies.
To establish direct cause, the victim/plaintiff must usually show that the tortfeasor didn’t have anything else to drink or did most of his/her drinking at the establishment which sold alcohol illegally.
Rely on an Experienced Davidson County DUI Accident Lawyer
The hard-working Nashville DUI accident lawyers at Mitch Grissim & Associates quickly evaluate your case and determine your legal options. Then, we immediately refer victims to doctors and start collecting evidence that supports their claims. After we use this data to build a compelling damages claim, we never stop fighting for you.
Finding the right Nashville drunk driving accident lawyer to represent your interests is the most effective way to build a strong case. From compiling police reports to negotiating with the insurance company to representing you in civil court should the need arise, our law firm has the experience you need on your side to take legal action.
Car crash victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Nashville, contact Mitch Grissim & Associates. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.