If you get hit by a drunk driver, your first thought probably isn’t to call an experienced car accident attorney. First, you have to make sure everyone is ok and call 911. You might also have been injured in the accident, which means you likely have to get treatment.
However, when the dust settles and you’re left with nothing but bills, economic, property, and emotional damage, you might want to consider hiring a drunk driving victims attorney. They can fight your case and give you the reimbursement you deserve.
Drunk Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 30 people die in the US every day. Approximately one-third of all car accident fatalities in the US involve drunk driving accident BACs.of .08% or higher.
BAC is the percentage measurement for the amount of alcohol in your blood. Maximum BAC levels are consistent no matter what state you live in, at .08%. However, having different legal BACs can determine whether you incur an enhanced penalty for a DUI or DWI.
The following is a state-by-state listing of the enhanced penalty limits for DUIs.
- Alabama: 0.15%
- Alaska: 0.15% (harsher penalties can be enforced at the judge’s discretion)
- Arizona: 0.15%
- Arkansas: 0.15%
- California: 0.15%
- Colorado: 0.15%
- Connecticut: 0.16%
- Delaware: 0.16%
- Washington, DC: 0.2% and 0.25%
- Florida: 0.20%
- Georgia: 0.15%
- Hawaii: 15%
- Idaho: 0.2 %
- Illinois: 0.16%
- Indiana: 0.15%
- Kansas: 0.15%
- Kentucky: 0.18%
- Louisiana: 0.15% and 0.2%
- Maine: 0.15%
- Massachusetts: 0.2% (for ages 17-21)
- Michigan: 0.17%
- Minnesota: 0.16%
- Missouri: 0.15%
- Montana: 0.16%
- Nebraska: .15%
- Nevada: 0.18%
- New Hampshire: 0.16%
- New Jersey: 0.10%
- New Mexico: 0.16%
- New York: 0.18%
- North Carolina: 0.15%
- North Dakota: 0.18%
- Ohio: 0.17%
- Oklahoma: 0.15%
- Oregon: 0.15%
- Pennsylvania: 0.1%
- Rhode Island: 0.1% and 0.15%
- South Dakota: 0.17%
- Indiana: 0.2%
- Texas: 0.15%
- Vermont: 0.16%
- Virginia: 0.15% and 0.2%
- Washington: 0.15%
- West Virginia: 0.15%
- Wisconsin: 0.17%, 0.2%, and 0.25%
- Wyoming: 0.15%
When traveling from state to state, it’s crucial to remember that states revise their drunk driving laws. They also change their policies on enforcement. Thus, these limits might are time-sensitive. Additionally, the federal BAC limit for driving under the influence is .08%.
States can pursue DUI charges in cases that have BACs as low as 0.01%. These cases depend on the driver’s age. Officers can also issue DUIs without checking the driver’s BAC. Officers can charge based on erratic driving, suspected alcohol influence, or a field sobriety test.
What Is Drunk Driving?
DWI means driving while impaired, while DUI means driving under the influence. In some states, the difference is nominal, meaning there is little difference between a DWI and a DUI charge. If an individual has both a DWI and a DUI, it most likely means they were under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Both of these charges describe a driver exhibiting dangerous behavior while operating a vehicle. If a driver fails a sobriety test, they can also be charged with a DUI or DWI even if their BAC is below the legal limit.
Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents
DUI or DWI accidents’ legal outcome depends mostly on the offense’s location, the severity of the accident, damage caused, and liability in the accident. Liability refers to the level of blame each involved party gets for the accident.
Drivers under the influence are far more likely to receive liability than sober drivers. However, if it’s clear that the person under the influence did not cause the accident, they might not be responsible for any damages due to the accident.
Vendors such as bar owners can also be held liable for drunk driving accident damages. This type of liability occurs when vendors knowingly over serve patrons while knowing they intend to operate a motor vehicle.
Social hosts, such as those who throw parties, can receive liability in drunk driving accidents. Vendor and social host laws are known as dram shop laws, and they vary from state to state. For example, in California, a social host can be held liable if they knowingly served alcohol to a minor who causes an accident.
What Should I Do After a Drunk Driver Hits Me?
The procedures for drunk driving accidents don’t differ from other car accidents. The first thing you should do is call 911. Making sure everyone is safe should be your priority. After calling 911, try to make the road safe for other vehicles.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer If I Get Hit By a Drunk Driver?
If a drunk driver injured you in an automobile accident, you should contact a drunk driving victims’ attorney right away. Representing yourself in a lawsuit is never advisable given the complex nature of car accident law. Skilled car accident lawyers can help determine your rightful compensation and start you on the road to recovery.
Avoiding Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk drivers can be anywhere, but knowing the most dangerous times can help you avoid encounters. Holidays such as New Years’ and events such as the Super Bowl are both notorious times for drunk drivers. Staying off the road during these times can help avoid drunk driving accidents.
Watch Out For the Signs of a Drunk Driver
Drunk drivers exhibit specific signs that signal you should avoid driving near them. The following are three signs that could potentially signify a drunk driver:
- Drivers who are swerving from one lane to another
- Drivers who are constantly slowing down and speeding up
- Erratic behavior such as sudden actions
If you notice a driver driving erratically, you should notify the authorities.
Stay Away From Drunk Drivers
Exercise caution if you notice someone is driving drunk. After you call the authorities, you should steer clear of them. Don’t try to pass them, and if you are unable to keep a safe distance from them, consider pulling off to the side of the road.
Sometimes, Drunk driving crashes aren’t preventable, but taking steps to avoid drivers exhibiting drunk behaviors can help increase your safety level.
Conclusion- When To Call a Drunk Driving Victims Attorney
After getting into a drunk driver auto accident, you might be disoriented or injured. Automobile accidents don’t give you much time to consider when to call a drunk driving victim’s attorney. After you gather yourself, you should contact an attorney right away.
Contacting a drunk driving victims attorney will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve and that you don’t have to shoulder property damages, medical bills, or lost wages on your own.
Many attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only receive compensation after winning your case. Nearly all car accident law firms allow free consultations to discuss your case and decipher the best course of action.