Hit by a DUI Driver? How to Sue for Money Damages
Were you hit by a DUI driver? If so, chances are that you’re feeling overwhelmed and possibly confused. Don’t worry.
If you’ve been injured, you may have a right to sue for damages to compensate you for your losses. These losses can be significant and varied, so it’s important to actually speak to an attorney about your case so that you can secure compensation. Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 or use our contact form to connect to an experienced attorney in our network for a free consultation.
All that being said, we understand you might be feeling anxious and alone. The first thing to understand is that you’re NOT alone in dealing with a drunk driving incident. According to data reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drinking and driving kills 28 people every single day. That’s more than a death per hour. Simply put, drunk driving accidents are a serious problem across the United States.
Let’s take a closer look.
What to do after a drunk driving accident
Hire a lawyer
Lawyers are incredibly important at every step of the accident-lawsuit process. Though television and movies have convinced the public that lawyers primarily litigate cases in court, the truth is that lawyers play a role throughout. They assist clients with evidence gathering, ensure that there are no problematic disclosures that could undermine the case, negotiate settlements, and implement legal strategies. Working with a lawyer early is also critical, as they will take steps to move your case forward in a timely manner, which avoids issues with legal deadlines.
Seek medical attention
The first priority after an accident is to obtain medical attention as soon as possible, given the circumstances. If you are seriously injured, you should not spend too much time loitering at the accident scene, for example. Instead, you should go to the nearest hospital or get an ambulance. Delaying this can undermine your claims, as the defendant may try to argue that your delays worsened the injuries. They may also try to argue that your delays prove that the injuries were not that serious to begin with.
If you aren’t “obviously” injured, then you can take a moment at the accident scene to collect evidence: taking photos of the crash and your injuries, getting the contact information of eyewitnesses, writing down notes, and more. This can be valuable for supporting your factual narrative in the upcoming dispute.
React appropriately as the case develops
As the case proceeds, you and your attorney will have to react and respond to the developments in the case. If the judge restrict the type of evidence that you can introduce, for example, then you’ll have to reconsider your overall legal strategy and how you’re framing the case arguments. Being able to react and respond quickly, efficiently, and effectively is important to the success of your claims.
Average Settlement for a drunk driving accident
There is no average settlement amount that you should expect to receive for a drunk driving accident. Every case is different, and the circumstances surrounding the case will vary enough that an analysis will require quite unique considerations. However, a number of factors can be used to calculate the settlement amount that you’ll want to focus on. This number can of course be negotiated further with the opposing counsel.
Bear in mind that settlement amounts are calculated on the basis of the uncertainty of potential trial litigation. If you are more likely to win at trial, and you have strong evidence of the damages you’re claiming, then the settlement amount will be proportionally higher. That’s how settlement calculations generally work.
Factors relevant to DUI accident compensation in a settlement
- State and federal laws
- Drunk driving damages and injuries
- Circumstantial factors favoring one party’s perception
The more thoroughly you’re able to prove the defendant’s fault, the higher the settlement can be. For example, in some cases, the defendant simply cannot reject your arguments and has to admit fault. This can increase your settlement amount substantially. Bear in mind, however, that they can continue to push down the settlement amount by arguing that the damages are low.
State and federal laws
Laws can influence your settlement amount, as they describe the contours of your legal claim. If the laws support your claims, then the defendant will have a difficult time countering your assertion of liability and damages. Generally speaking, the more definitive the legal framework that supports your claims, the higher the settlement you’ll be able to negotiate.
Drunk driving damages and injuries
The more severe your injuries, the larger your damages amount will be and the higher your settlement that you can negotiate. Do bear in mind that a damages claim must be accompanied by strong evidence. If you do not have the evidence to support your damages claim, then the defendant will be able to counter with their own assertion, which is likely to be much lower.
Circumstantial factors favoring one party’s perception
Many circumstantial factors can influence how the jury would perceive one or both parties. For example, in a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver may try to paint themselves as likeable and “not that bad” by explaining that they were just buzzed at the time of the accident, not drunk. You can and should counter these attempts to tip the scales of perception. In this instance, you’d want to make it clear that buzzed driving is drunk driving, and that violating the legal limit for alcohol is sufficient for a DUI accident claim.
How a car accident lawyer can help
Drunk driving accidents can be overwhelming. If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, then you may be entitled to sue for damages. These cases can involve a lot of unforeseen complications, however, so you’ll want to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer for guidance. A car accident lawyer can handle all aspects of the case, from helping you gather evidence, to developing a legal strategy, to negotiating a settlement, and litigating the case at trial.