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We have all heard not to drink and get behind the wheel, yet so many of us know someone who has been in a drunk driving accident—or worse, have been in a drunk driving accident ourselves. That’s why it’s important to know drunk driving victim lawyers you can trust. A drunk driving accident lawyer can help you investigate your case, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies.
It can be frustrating to face the reality that there are people who are willing to risk the lives of others by driving under the influence of alcohol, but we must allow for the fact that the drivers’ impaired judgment and lower inhibition can preclude them from considering the consequences of their actions. Regardless of a drunk driver’s intention, victims should consider speaking with a drunk driving accident lawyer to learn about their options for recovery.
Drunk Driving statistics
About 28 people die each day in the United States from drunk driving, which averages to one person every 52 minutes. More than 10,000 Americans died in drunk driving accidents in 2019, and more than one million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence that same year. One third of all deaths caused by vehicle crashes are due to drunk driving.
The chances of you becoming involved in a drunk driving accident are significant, and it will help you to be prepared for that possibility. Therefore, you should know what to do if you are in a drunk driving accident and how to best protect yourself and others from drunk driving accidents.
Kinds of drunk driving accidents
The way that alcohol influences a driver can impact the kinds of collisions you might face. Regardless of the kind of collision that occurs, the injuries could be serious; if the driver was speeding, the crash and your injuries could be even worse. Understanding the kinds of accidents that can happen with drunk driving can help you know how to respond if you find yourself in a situation with a drunk driver.
People who are at or above the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit have trouble controlling the speed of the vehicle and paying attention to driving. A driver who does not pay attention to cars that are slowing down in front of him or her is more likely to rear-end someone. Additionally, if the drunk driver has trouble controlling the speed of the car, he or she might speed up inappropriately and rear-end a vehicle that is moving at a normal, consistent speed.
Drunk drivers also have difficulty staying in the correct lane and controlling a vehicle. This is why you may see drunk drivers going over a double yellow line or going in the wrong direction on a highway or interstate.
If you are on a two-lane highway and you notice that the car coming towards you is in your lane, you should not steer left to pass the oncoming car on the wrong side of the road. There is a chance that the driver in the other car will attempt to steer back into the correct lane while you are in it. Instead, you should brake, sound your horn, and flash your lights.
Anytime a motorcycle is in an accident with a car, the injuries are much more likely to be serious or fatal for the motorcyclist. When you are in a car, there is a barrier between you and the road and the other driver, and there are airbags and other safety devices such as seatbelts that can keep you safe. Because of the lack of these safety measures, motorcyclists are at an increased risk of fatality from drunk drivers.
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What to do if you have been in a drunk driving accident
If you have been in an accident involving drinking and driving, there are things you should do as quickly as possible to preserve the strength of your claim. A drunk driving accident lawyer can then go in and uncover the important details to answer legal questions that you may not even know exist.
Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement
Wait until you meet with a drunk driving accident lawyer before giving a recorded statement to the other party or the insurance companies involved. Any statement you make to the other party or their insurance company can be used against you during the claims process or at trial, if it comes to that. Insurance companies are always finding excuses to deny claims, and they can use your recorded statement to help accomplish that goal.
Report the Accident
You should report the accident to the police as soon as you can. An investigating officer will come and gather information from you and the drunk driver. Once the accident becomes public record a few days later, you can request a copy online and keep it with your records related to the accident.
A drunk driving accident lawyer will work with you to investigate your drunk driving accident case, but they will need some help in the process. If you can, take pictures of the accident with your phone, obtain the crash report from the police, and get pertinent information from the parties involved. Also, take photos of any injuries you may have sustained.
Seek Medical Attention if Necessary
If you are in critical condition, you should seek medical help immediately. Even if you do not notice any apparent injuries, you will want to visit your doctor within days following the accident to diagnose and treat the injuries you sustained in the accident. Keep a record of your injuries, the medical and rehabilitation bills you receive, and your missed wages from time off from work.
Call a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you were hurt in an accident with a drunk driver, you should have an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer on your side to help you navigate the legal process so that you can recover. Zinda Law Group’s drunk driving victim lawyers are here for you every step of the way after an accident. You deserve maximum compensation for what you’ve been through.
How a drunk driving accident lawyer can help you
A personal injury lawyer will know how to investigate and present your case in a way that can get you the maximum compensation possible. Beginning in the evidence-gathering stage, a DUI accident lawyer will find out if the drunk driver was driving a commercial vehicle or if the driver was over-served at a bar or restaurant. This will help your attorney know who to sue and how much compensation you could receive.
The injury attorney will help you file your claim based on this information. Your attorney will then try to negotiate a settlement for you. Most cases settle rather than go to trial, but if the other parties do not cooperate to give you the damages they owe you, it might be necessary for your attorney to represent you at court. You could be entitled to economic damages, including medical bills and missed wages from time off of work, and noneconomic damages, including compensation for the pain and suffering you endured from the drunk driving accident.
Preventing the damaging effects of drunk driving
There are steps that states take and steps that you can take personally to help prevent against the damage that drunk driving does. Employers and health professionals can also make employees and patients aware of the risks of drunk driving and screen for risky behaviors since 85% of drunk driving episodes are reported by binge drinkers.
How States Protect You
States protect against the effects of drunk driving by enforcing the federal BAC of 0.08% and the minimum drinking age. The minimum drinking age across the United States is 21 years. States also pass seatbelt laws to ensure that everyone in the car is secured in a seat.
States can enforce these laws by increasing the use of sobriety checkpoints and increasing punishments for those who violate the laws. For example, states might require ignition interlocks for those who have received a conviction for drinking and driving. Ignition interlocks are devices that require a breath sample from the driver to determine that the driver has a legal BAC level before driving.
How to Protect Yourself
There are also steps that you can take to ensure that you are not only complying with the laws that are in place to protect you but also guaranteeing that you and your passengers are as safe as possible. First, you can avoid drinking and driving by planning ahead: When you go out with a group, assign someone as the nondrinking, designated driver. Alternatively, you can call a taxi, ride-sharing service, or friend to drive you home.
Second, if you are worried that your own binge drinking or a friend’s binge drinking could lead to an accident, reach out for help. You can contact a doctor or seek counseling to combat a binge drinking issue.
Last, you should always wear your seatbelt while driving and ensure that your passengers do the same. This is the best step that you can take to protect you and those in your car from other drivers. You cannot control what other drivers do on the road, but you can control the conditions within your vehicle.
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Receive guidance from a drunk driving accident lawyer
If you have been in a car accident, you will want focus on your rehabilitation. Consider allowing someone else to take on the legal burden of the car crash. Talk to the Zinda Law Group attorneys at (800) 863-5312; our injury lawyers will be able to schedule your free consultation and help you decide your next steps.
Our drunk driving attorneys want to ensure the best possible outcome for your case and to help you hold the drunk driver who hurt you accountable. We care so much about the results we can get for you by representing your rights that we have a No Win, No Fee Guarantee . This means that you do not pay us unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.
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AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA BY THE NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (2016-2020)
AWARDED TO JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA (2009, 2011-2012, 2014-2021), JOE CAPUTO (2019-2021), BURGESS WILLIAMS (2019-2020), & NEIL SOLOMON (2020-2021)
AWARDED TO JACK ZINDA (2016-2020), JOE CAPUTO (2016 – 2020) & BURGESS WILLIAMS (2016-2017)
LIFETIME MEMBERS JOHN C. (JACK) ZINDA & JOE CAPUTO