Average Settlement When Hit By A Drunk DriverLast updated on: September 11, 2019
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Drunk driving causes thousands of injuries in the United States per year. The effects of being injured by a drunk driver can range from vehicle damage to serious or permanent injuries and even death.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, call the drunk driving accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group at (512) 246-2224 for a free consultation. If we are not able to reach a favorable settlement in your case, you will not owe us anything.
How to Calculate the Value of Your Settlement
The amount of compensation you may seek for an accident is generally calculated by adding your economic damages and non-economic damages together in addition to any punitive damages that may be awarded in some cases.
Economic damages include property damage to your vehicle–whether it is the cost to repair your damaged vehicle, or the fair market value of your vehicle if it was totaled in the accident. Medical expenses including any costs of medical treatments and therapies, as well as lost wages and loss of earning capacity, are included within the economic damages calculation.
Non-economic damages that you may be entitled to compensation for include loss of consortium damages for a loss of companionship by loved one as well as pain and suffering to compensate for any physical or mental trauma you may have suffered as a result of being hit by the drunk driver.
These factors are unique in every case, which means that the value of every case is typically different, and any compensation will be based on an individual calculation unique to your case.
Factors Affecting Average Settlement for Drunk Driving Accident
Severity of the Injuries
The severity of your injuries is often a significant factor in determining the amount of compensation you may be entitled to. If you are able to establish the drunk driver’s liability for the accident and your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and your pain and suffering.
Type of Treatment
The type of treatment you received for your injuries is crucial to support the severity of those injuries. Your medical records and testimony from treating doctors can show the treatment you received was necessary to treat your injuries and thus substantiate your claims for these medical expenses and the resulting pain and suffering.
Time off Work
You may also be entitled to compensation for any time off work and your lost wages if you were forced to miss work because of injuries caused by the drunk driver. Furthermore, you may also be able to seek compensation for a loss of earning capacity if your injuries from the car accident permanently prevent you from being able to perform the same work functions or earn as much as you did before the accident.
Aside from any medical expenses that you may incur to treat injuries from the car accident, you may also be entitled to compensation for other expenses, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle. In some cases, you may also be able to pursue a claim for the expenses of taking your lawsuit to trial.
Pain and Suffering
Unlike more easily quantifiable damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering require a more subjective calculation. While each case is unique, these damages are generally awarded to compensate a victim for physical and mental pain and suffering caused by the car accident. Due to the unique and subjective nature of pain and suffering damages, settlements may vary based on different types of injuries, combinations of injuries, and how different people may react to these injuries and the type of trauma suffered from the car accident.
Who Caused the Accident?
The drunk driver who caused the accident may be held liable and responsible for your injuries caused by the accident. However, your lawsuit may also be impacted if you had any fault for the accident.
In states that follow rules of contributory negligence, any fault on your part may prevent you from seeking compensation. In other states that allow for comparative negligence, the compensation you may be entitled to may simply be reduced proportionally to your fault. If you were partially responsible for causing the accident, you may either be unable to seek compensation at all, or any potential settlement may be reduced in proportion to your fault.
To establish the liability of the drunk driver, attorneys generally have to establish that the other driver owed a duty of care to their client: generally, to exercise reasonable care while operating a vehicle. Next, your lawyer must show that the driver breached this duty of care. Your attorney may prove this breach by establishing that the driver was drunk at the time of the accident because the driver failed to exercise reasonable care by the very act of driving drunk. Furthermore, many states have “negligence per se” laws, which provide that proving the other driver was drunk may satisfy duty and breach. Unless the drunk driver is able to prove that an intervening force may have caused the accident, they can be held liable for your injuries.
Why Hire a Lawyer?
Seeking compensation for your injuries can often be difficult without the help of an experienced attorney. Seeking compensation or gaining a favorable settlement may often require thorough investigation to prove that the other driver was drunk at the time of the accident as well as that the drunk driver caused your accident and your injuries resulting from the car crash. If you hire a lawyer to help you in pursuing a claim, your attorney can help you by conducting a thorough investigation and gathering as much evidence as possible to prepare your case. Your attorney can fight to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to you for your injuries caused by the drunk driver.
How to Seek Compensation with a Lawyer
1. Seek Medical Treatment
The first thing you should do if you have been involved in a car accident is to seek immediate medical care to identify and treat any injuries you may have suffered as a result of being hit by the drunk driver. By seeking care as soon as possible after your accident, you are able to not only treat any potential injuries but also gather documentation for the injuries you may be entitled to compensation for from the drunk driver.
2. Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you have been hit by a drunk driver, you should consult an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you pursue a claim for the compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries and damages caused by your accident. After hiring a lawyer to help you pursue compensation, your lawyer may gather as much evidence as possible to prove the other driver was drunk and is liable for your injuries.
3. Document the Evidence
You should begin documenting as much evidence as possible as soon as possible after your accident. After you hire an attorney, your attorney may help you document your injuries by keeping detailed medical records and bills including any medication or treatment that you received to treat your injuries from the drunk driving accident.
4. Investigation by Your Lawyer
Your lawyer might also gather any available witness information, a copy of the police report, any subsequent convictions received by the other driver for drunk driving at the time of the accident, and any other available information that can help your attorney prove liability. With this information, your attorney can first seek a settlement that compensates you for your injuries.
After thoroughly investigating the accident and gathering evidence, your attorney may try to negotiate a settlement with the drunk driver or the drunk driver’s insurance company on your behalf. Your lawyer may begin by using evidence and information gained from the investigation into the accident to help prove the other driver’s intoxication and liability for the accident.
Creating a strong case and showing liability is an important first step in seeking compensation for your injuries and damages. Your attorney may then use the documentation of your injuries, medical costs and treatment, loss of earning potential, lost wages, and pain and suffering to negotiate with the driver or insurance company for a favorable settlement.
During the negotiation process, your attorney may make a settlement offer, followed by counteroffers from the driver or insurance company. The negotiation process continues until a favorable settlement is reached by both sides, or it may terminate without a settlement, and your attorney may take your case to trial.
In trial, your drunk driving accident lawyer can present your case, attempt to prove the other driver was drunk and caused the accident and your injuries, and therefore is liable for compensating you for your injuries and damages.
Legal Time Limits
If you have been injured by a drunk driver and are seeking compensation for your injuries, you will have to make sure to file your claim before the expiration of the statute of limitations. This time limit varies from state to state, with many states having a statute of limitations of two years. The statute of limitations will begin running from the date of your car accident caused by the drunk driver.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to seek compensation. Our lawyers are on hand to provide a FREE consultation and help you understand your position better. Call today at 512 246 2224 to speak with a drunk-driving accident lawyer today.
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