Nashville DUI Accident Lawyer
About 80 percent of Americans say they consume alcohol, and about 25 percent say they binge drink (consume enough alcohol at 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.
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 which supports their claims. After we use this evidence to build a compelling damages claim, we never stop fighting for you.
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
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.