The term “alcohol-related accidents” usually refers to roadway automobile accidents caused by the consumption of alcohol. Such accidents are covered under DUI laws (drunk driving or driving under the influence) in most circumstances. However, comparable accidents involving other forms of transportation may be covered under intoxication assault laws. DUI is sometimes known as “DWI” or driving while intoxicated in many jurisdictions.
Alcohol-related accidents are a significant cause of injuries in the U.S. every year. They can sometimes involve severe injury or death to drivers and passengers on the road. Therefore, alcohol-related accidents make up a considerable proportion of insurance claims and private personal injury lawsuits.
How Do I Choose the Right Auto Accident Lawyer?
Suppose you have been involved in an auto accident or have been injured in an accident and would like to seek a personal injury claim. In that circumstance, a vehicle wreck attorney can heavily influence the outcome of your case.
Generally speaking, an auto accident attorney would be a personal injury attorney specializing in auto accidents. They should be experienced in auto accident cases and experienced in handling cases similar to yours. It is also essential to choose an attorney you trust and can afford, given your finances.
Auto accident attorneys will determine how best to represent you by examining the facts of your case. They will review documentation and apply their knowledge of local personal injury laws. Further, the lawyer will defend your rights while ensuring you thoroughly understand how you may also be at fault. They will work to lessen any fines or penalties you may be facing.
After meeting with a lawyer and discussing your claim, you will be better prepared to decide whether to hire them.
After the meeting, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I comfortable working with this lawyer on my case?
- Do I think they have the knowledge and talents necessary to take my case?
- Did they explain the problems surrounding my case in a way that I understood? Did they communicate in legal terms I didn’t understand?
- Do I understand the proposed fee arrangement for handling my case?
LegalMatch may prove the best option when asking how to choose the right auto accident attorney. We will provide you with several lawyers in your area who are ready and qualified to take on cases such as yours.
Why Do I Need an Auto Accident Attorney? What Should I Look For in an Automobile Accident Lawyer?
Once you have been involved in an auto accident and have suffered injuries, you may pursue a lawsuit on your behalf or hire an attorney. The best time to hire an attorney after an accident is early on. This is to avoid any expensive errors that can harm your potential damages.
The deadline for filing a personal injury claim differs from state to state. Nevertheless, because your medical costs and lost wages might add up, it is best to reach an attorney sooner than later.
What Legal Issues Can I Face for Drunk Driving?
Drunk driving is a severe offense that can lead to significant consequences. Depending on the laws of your state, a person is generally considered to be legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or 0.10%.
Suppose a person chooses to operate a motor vehicle after drinking alcohol or taking drugs that impair their senses. In that case, it can result in having to face many legal ramifications, such as getting ticketed, criminally fined, arrested, and charged for driving while intoxicated (DWI), or the more commonly known term, driving under the influence (DUI).
While an individual who has been charged with drunk driving usually only obtains a misdemeanor for their first offense, they can still be charged with a felony if they have injured another individual or caused property damage. A person may also face felony charges if it was not their first drunk driving offense.
Further, though most states will charge a drunk driver with a DUI, every state has its own set of criteria for what is deemed a drunk driving offense and different varieties of the potential charges that may apply.
Finally, it is essential to note that drunk driving is more than just a mere traffic citation; it is considered a criminal offense. If you are convicted of a drunk driving offense, it will appear on your criminal record.
What Are Some Examples of Alcohol-Related Accidents?
Alcohol-related accidents can involve a somewhat wide range of different types of accidents, which may include:
- Car-to-car collisions
- Striking a pedestrian or bicyclist with a car
- Striking an object with a car (such as a tree, light post, wall, etc.)
In most circumstances, the involvement of alcohol is proven by such means as breathalyzer tests, blood samples, etc., which can be taken at the scene of the accident. Usually, a person doesn’t need to be intoxicated or incapacitated to be charged with DUI. In most circumstances, if their blood alcohol concentration is above a certain percentage (usually 0.08), they can be charged with DUI.
What Are the Penalties for Alcohol-Related Accidents?
If a person is charged with DUI, they may face severe criminal consequences. These can include misdemeanor charges, which usually result in a criminal fine and a jail sentence of up to one year.
In severe cases, the DUI charge may result in felony charges, which would result in higher fines and a prison sentence of longer than one year. This usually happens if the alcohol-related accident was a repeat incident or if it caused death or serious bodily injury (SBI) to another party.
Also, the party responsible for an alcohol-related accident may become subject to a civil lawsuit filed by the victim(s) of the accident. This may cause them to be responsible for even more costs, such as the victim’s hospital fees and automobile repair expenses.
Lastly, DUI charges can result in other consequences, such as the offender having their license revoked or their car impounded, plus mandatory alcohol abuse counseling. Such efforts are meant to deter future incidents of alcohol-related accidents.
Who Can Be Held Liable For Alcohol-Related Accidents?
In most circumstances, the party that caused the accident may be held responsible if it can be demonstrated that their intoxication caused the accident. Yet, in most jurisdictions, a negligent party can still be held responsible even if the alcohol played only a negligible role (i.e., they weren’t wholly intoxicated or unable to drive).
In some circumstances, a person such as a bartender or even the host of a private party can be held liable for serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated individual and letting them drive.
Regulations regarding this type of liability may vary depending on the situation and state laws.
Lastly, the victim can sometimes be held partly responsible for their injuries, such as driving recklessly or disobeying traffic rules.
The party that is found liable may be required to compensate the victim for their expenses, which may include:
- Hospital and medical costs
- Car repair fees
- Lost wages and loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Court and attorney fees
In severe cases, punitive damages may be awarded, but only if the defendant acted maliciously or recklessly.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Alcohol-related accidents can present many difficult legal challenges, both for the offender and any victims. You may wish to contact a qualified DUI/DWI lawyer if you need help with legal claims involving alcohol-related accidents.
An experienced lawyer can help you file your claim, review documents, and provide legal argumentation during court proceedings. DUI and alcohol laws will vary from region to region, so ask your attorney if you have any specific questions or concerns.