Drunk driving car accidents often result in some of the worst injuries imaginable, and they are the result of unconscionable negligence. With today’s focus on traffic safety, there is no excuse for operating a vehicle while inebriated, and yet it is still one of the most pervasive problems facing law enforcement. On average, by the time an inebriated motorist is caught by police, they have already violated the law in this way nearly 80 times. Millions upon millions of people throw caution to the wind every year, and the impact is felt by innocent families who are forever harmed by the carelessness of others. The only recourse that these families may have is to seek help from a personal injury or wrongful death attorney.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL PROCESS FOR DRUNK DRIVING CAR ACCIDENTS?
Inebriated motorists generally have little defense if police determine that they were under the influence at the time of the crash. Motorists who are drunk are in direct violation of their duty of care to others on the road, and are considered negligent by default. However, there may be some secondary factors that determine how a case will proceed.
The defendant’s lawyer will likely attempt to shift the blame to other parties, such as the business responsible for serving the motorist with alcohol, or the owner of the vehicle if the motorist was borrowing one. There are laws in place that hold alcohol-serving establishments accountable if they allow an obviously inebriated person to continue to drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Known as dram shop laws, these can be used to the victim’s advantage as well, as they may be able to name the business as a defendant in the case. The vehicle’s owner will also share responsibility if they lent out the car and had reason to believe the defendant would be drinking.
The defendant may not have insurance or the financial means to compensate the victim and their family. If this is the case, bringing in additional defendants may help the victim receive what they are entitled to.
WHAT INJURIES CAN RESULT FROM DRUNK DRIVING CAR ACCIDENTS?
Inebriated motorists usually cause crashes because they veer into other lanes or oncoming traffic, cannot regulate their speed, or plow through intersections without taking heed of traffic lights or signs. As a result, such crashes are some of the worst possible, and they often leave the involved parties in terrible shape.
Head-on and high-speed collisions can result in broken bones, lacerations, and severe organ damage, particularly to the spine and brain. The sudden stop jars passengers forward, causing them to strike their dashboard, or experience traumatic physical forces that result in serious impact on the brain. Brain and spine injuries can leave a victim paralyzed, with a speech or cognitive impairment, in chronic pain, or in a coma. It’s generally difficult, if not impossible to recover from these injuries, so ongoing medical support will be needed to protect the victim’s quality of life as much as possible.
There’s never a reason why someone should get behind the wheel while inebriated, and those that do are risking other peoples’ lives carelessly.