No matter where you are in the U.S, drunk driving is illegal. Yet many drivers skirt the law and drive while intoxicated anyway. These drivers are more likely to get in accidents, often causing significant injuries and property damage to pedestrians as well as other drivers and their passengers.
If you or your loved one was hurt by a reckless intoxicated driver, we understand if you are angry. To get justice, we suggest that you work with a West Memphis drunk driver accident lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC to get compensation for your losses. Through the Tenessee legal process, you can hold drunk drivers accountable for all of the damage they have caused in your life.
Drunk Driving in the United States
In 2020, 11,654 people were killed in alcohol-impaired traffic accidents. This was a 14% increase from the previous year. Approximately 30% of all traffic fatalities involved drunk drivers, and, unfortunately, every one of these deaths could have been prevented.
Drunk driving causes accidents because alcohol substantially reduces brain function, impairing one’s thinking, reasoning, and coordination. Of course, all of these functions are vital to safely operating a vehicle, so driving while intoxicated increases the chances of an accident occurring. Even a small amount of alcohol can affect someone’s driving ability. Therefore, it never makes sense to drive while intoxicated in any way.
For a free legal consultation with a drunk driver accidents lawyer serving West Memphis, call (901) 526-2126
Understanding Liability in Drunk Driving Accidents
Your drunk driver accident lawyer in West Memphis will help you understand which party was liable for the accident you were involved in. Identifying who was responsible requires an investigation into the events that led to the accident. Here are some parties that could be deemed liable in your drunk driver accident.
Ultimately, drivers who choose to operate their vehicles while intoxicated are the primary liable party in most drunk driving cases. They have the option to hold off on driving until they are sober, yet they still made an active decision to drive anyway. These actions are to be considered reckless, and more importantly, criminal in nature.
Bars, Restaurants, and Hosts
Businesses that serve alcohol have a responsibility to stop customers from becoming too intoxicated at their establishments. If a bar or restaurant continued serving alcohol to a customer who was clearly intoxicated, they could be liable for damages caused by a drunk driving accident that their customer was responsible for. In Tennessee, you can file a dram shop claim against vendors to hold them accountable for their contribution to drunk driving incidents.
West Memphis Drunk Driver Accident Lawyer Near Me (901) 526-2126
Dram Shop Laws and What They Mean for You
Tennessee has dram shop laws in place. These laws dictate that someone who was hurt by a drunk driver can file a lawsuit against any vendor that sold alcoholic beverages to an individual that was visibly drunk or younger than age 21. Dram shop laws only apply if the drink directly caused or contributed to your injuries.
To prove this, you absolutely need support from a West Memphis drunk driver accident attorney.
Whose Fault Is Drunk Driving?
While it may be easy to assume that a drunk driving accident is purely the intoxicated driver’s fault, consider that another party could have contributed negatively to the events. If you were injured in a drunk driver accident, you need to get to the bottom of things by finding out exactly what circumstances led to the accident. A drunk driver accident attorney in West Memphis can help you collect evidence that identifies every liable party so they can be brought to justice.
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Filing a Civil Claim Against Drunk Drivers
Drunk driving is a criminal offense, but that does not mean you are not allowed to file a civil claim against the offender. Law enforcement will handle the criminal aspects of the situation, but in order to recover damages from the drunk driver, you also need to file a civil lawsuit against them. Depending on what happened leading up to the accident, you can also potentially file a suit against bars, restaurants, or hosts that served alcohol to the drunk driver before the accident occurred.
Keep in mind that the establishments that serve alcohol usually have a legal defense prepared to fight off people who wish to pursue compensation from them. To get the money you deserve, you may require help from an established West Memphis drunk driver accident lawyer.
Compensation Available in Drunk Driving Cases
If someone is injured or killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you need to file a claim as soon as possible. To make the claim as effective as possible, you need evidence that shows that the drunk driver was mostly responsible for causing the accident. Upon doing so, you can build a case against them to recover compensation for your losses.
To get the maximum possible settlement or judgment, you must clearly dictate the damages you suffered due to the accident. Common damages that can be pursued include:
- Pain and suffering related to injuries sustained in the accident
- Medical treatment costs associated with injuries caused by the accident
- Loss of wages and income due to being unable to work following an accident
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages are awarded to plaintiffs who can convince courts that the at-fault driver engaged in willful and wanton conduct by driving while intoxicated. If you do win punitive damages in your case, this award is granted in addition to any compensatory damages you win.
Do Not Settle without Consulting with a Lawyer
In most cases, drunk drivers and their insurers know that they were clearly in the wrong. For this reason, they often try to settle claims before the victims gain an understanding of how much their drunk driving accident claim could be worth. Do not allow them to get the upper hand.
Consult with Gatti, Keltner, Bievenu & Montesi PLC to learn exactly what your drunk driving accident claim is worth. To get in touch, fill out the contact form on this page.