How Is Fault Determined In A DUI Accident Case?
Drunk driving is extremely common in the U.S., and a DUI car accident produces some of the worst injuries attorneys see. This means an incredible number of drunk driving injury cases are managed every year in the country, so the laws in this area have been firmly established. That doesn’t mean, however, that every case follows the same path. On the contrary, many people believe that drunk drivers are automatically at fault for any crash they are involved in. While drunk drivers are usually responsible for wrecks they are a part of, this doesn’t mean the courts will always find them responsible for any damages. This is why it is important for a victim to have an attorney on their side before the case gets underway.
A DUI accident case is usually straightforward, as impaired motorists represent a major threat on the road. Whenever a person gets behind the wheel of a car, they are charged with a duty of care toward others they share the road with. They must maintain control of the vehicle and maintain vigilance while driving so they notice changing road conditions and warning signs. Drunk drivers cannot fulfill this duty of care by definition, and a breach of duty is grounds for an injury claim.
All other things being equal, a drunk driver is going to bear the responsibility for any crash they are involved in. However, if other drivers or pedestrians are violating traffic laws at the time of the crash, they may share fault even if they hit a drunk driver. For example, if a drunk motorist is hit by someone running a red light, they will typically not be responsible for any damages, even if they are charged with a crime.
Another factor that can complicate a DUI accident case is if anyone was responsible for the drunk driver’s actions. For example, if an impaired motorist left a bar in bad shape, the bar owner may be considered negligent. If a person lends their vehicle to a person who is either drunk or clearly has an intention to get drunk, then they may also be named in a claim if the driver causes a wreck.
WHAT SHOULD A VICTIM DO IF THEY ARE HURT IN A DUI ACCIDENT?
The drunk driver’s insurance company will bear the brunt of any financial decision waged against the driver, so victims should expect a call from them immediately after a crash. In most cases, the insurance company will try to strong-arm the victim into taking a paltry sum for their injuries. They may even lie about what kind of compensation a victim could receive if they pursue a case.
Personal injury attorneys have seen these tactics before and can diffuse them quickly. An attorney can also help a victim put together a demand letter that will clearly outline the damages involved in the crash without undermining the victim’s claim.
Following this, the case may enter a protracted settlement and discovery phase. So it is necessary for the victim to maintain detailed medical information and gather witness information when possible. Doing this will ensure the best possible outcome for the victim’s claim.