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Drinking while driving is never a good idea. This decision can lead to accidents, causing catastrophic injury, or death. The victims of drunk driving accidents may be able to receive compensation for their injuries or property damage.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, a Santa Fe drunk driving injury lawyer may be able to help. Zinda Law Group injury attorneys have the experience necessary to help guide you through the legal process and may help you receive compensation. Call (800) 863-5312 today to speak with a Zinda Law Group drunk driving attorney in Santa Fe.
DRUNK DRIVING STATISTICS
Nationwide Drunk Driving Statistics
Driving while drinking is deadly; however, it continues to happen every day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 30 people in the United States die every day due to drunk driving crashes. That equates to one person every 50 minutes. In 2018, there were 10,511 deaths from drunk driving crashes in the United States alone. Within the same year, drunk driving accounted for 29% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities. It is vital, therefore, to never drink and get behind the wheel.
New Mexico Drunk Driving Statistics
In New Mexico, drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher are considered under the influence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), there were 1,254 people killed in drunk driving crashes in New Mexico between the years 2003 to 2012. Further, 1.2% of New Mexico residents have reported that they have driven after drinking too much.
The CDC has put forth strategies to reduce or prevent drunk driving. These include:
- Sobriety Checkpoints. Sobriety checkpoints allow law enforcement to briefly stop motorists to determine if the driver is impaired.
- Mass Media Campaigns. These media campaigns are meant to spread messages about the physical, and legal, consequences of drinking and driving.
- School-Based Programs. School-based instructional programs are effective at teaching teenagers not to ride with drunk drivers.
If you drink and drive, you run the risk of getting into an accident. These accidents may result in severe injury, or even death. Further, you will likely see legal ramifications. If you have been out drinking, there are many choices you can make aside from driving yourself home, endangering yourself, and possibly harming others. For instance, you can call a sober family member or friend, call a cab, or use a ride-share app, such as Uber.
COMMON DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT INJURIES
Drunk driving accidents may cause serious, if not fatal, injuries. Alcohol generally impairs reaction time, visual accuracy, and the individual’s ability to gauge distances and time. These factors are extremely dangerous when the impaired individual begins to drive. Common drunk driving accident injuries include, but are not limited to:
Car accident injuries may vary from relatively minor, to catastrophic. It is important to always seek medical attention after an accident, as a medical professional will be able to properly diagnose and document your injuries. This documentation may be important later on when you file your drunk driving lawsuit and may help you prove your injuries.
WHO MAY BE LIABLE FOR YOUR INJURIES?
If you were the victim of a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. To receive compensation, however, it must be determined who is at fault. Below are examples of different parties who may be liable for your injuries:
The Drunk Driver
If an individual chooses to drink and drive, they run the risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident. When someone ingests alcohol, their ability to drive becomes impaired. For example, alcohol may affect your judgment, vision, and motor coordination. Therefore, the drunk driver is typically held liable for any injuries they cause due to negligently drinking and driving.
Licensed Alcohol Vend0r
In certain situations, the licensed alcohol vendor may be liable for the injuries resulting from a drunk driving accident. This concept is referred to as “dram shop” laws. These laws vary from state to state, so it is important to contact an attorney in your state if you believe a licensed alcohol vendor, such as a bar or restaurant, is responsible for your injuries.
New Mexico allows dram shop liability claims from the victim of a drunk driving accident in certain situations. For example, the injured person may hold the vendor liable if:
- The vendor served alcohol to an intoxicated individual, and
- The individual’s intoxication was reasonably apparent, or
- The vendor knew the individual was intoxicated.
The Social Host
Licensed alcohol vendors, such as bars and restaurants, are not the only places to serve alcohol. You may be surprised to learn that you may be found liable for injuries resulting in a drunk driving accident, even if you were not in the car. If you serve alcohol in your home or another private setting, you are referred to as a “social host.” In some states, social hosts may be found liable if their guests drink, drive, and get into an accident. These laws vary from state to state, so it is important to know the laws in your state before serving alcohol at your home.
New Mexico permits a cause of action against a social host, but only when the social host recklessly provides alcohol to a guest. For instance, George is hosting a party at his home. Gina attends the party and begins to drink alcohol. George notices that Gina has become intoxicated. She is clearly disoriented and is having trouble walking. George, however, continues to serve Gina drinks. Gina then gets into her car and begins to drive home. On her way home, however, Gina gets into an accident with Bill. The accident was due to Gina’s loss of coordination and poor motor skills resulting from George overserving her alcohol. Bill may then seek damages for his injuries directly from George.
If you were involved in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. A Santa Fe drunk driving injury attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries and, therefore, responsible for any compensation you may be eligible to receive.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT INVOLVING A DRUNK DRIVER
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to know what steps to take immediately following the incident.
1. Seek Medical Attention
If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Your safety and wellbeing are always a priority. For instance, you may be suffering from internal injuries that are not immediately apparent following the accident. Further, documenting all of your injuries may help you in your drunk driving lawsuit. Without documentation by a medical professional, you may be barred from seeking full compensation for your injuries.
2. Contact Law Enforcement
After you are safe, you should contact local law enforcement to report the accident. Once the police arrive, they will likely write up an accident report. This accident report may help you in your drunk driving lawsuit by showing who is at fault for the accident.
3. Document the Accident
The next step is to document the accident. This includes taking pictures of the entire scene, including any injuries or property damage. You should also write down everything you can remember about the accident, as you may not remember the details later on. You should also document your observations about the drunk driver. For example, make a note if you can smell alcohol, or if you observed any erratic behaviors on the part of the other driver.
You should also get and maintain certain documents. These documents may include:
- The name and contact information of the other driver
- A copy of the official police report
- The license plate number and vehicle identification number of all vehicles involved
- The names and contact information of any witnesses.
4. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Lastly, you should contact an experienced Santa Fe drunk driving injury lawyer. Although the legal process can be complicated, Zinda Law Group attorneys are available to discuss your case and help guide you through the next steps. An experienced personal injury attorney may help you determine who is at fault and what compensation you may be entitled to.
CONTACT A SANTA FE DRUNK DRIVING INJURY LAWYERS TODAY
If you or a loved one was the victim of a drunk driving accident, you should contact an experienced Santa Fe drunk driving attorney immediately to discuss your case. Zinda Law Group attorneys have the experience necessary to help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and property damage. We work hard for each of our clients and give each case the individual attention it deserves.
Zinda Law Group Santa Fe drunk driving injury lawyers may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve in your drunk driving case. Zinda Law Group attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not pay anything unless we win your case. Call us today at (800) 863-5312.